screen·​play | \ ˈskrēn-ˌplā How to pronounce screenplay (audio) \

Definition of screenplay

: the script and often shooting directions of a story prepared for motion-picture production

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Synonyms for screenplay


scenario, script

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Examples of screenplay in a Sentence

an award for best screenplay each actor will be given a copy of the screenplay to study

Recent Examples on the Web

Directed by Nadine Labaki, from a screenplay by Labaki, Khaled Mouzanar, Jihad Hojeilly and Michelle Keserwany. Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times, "‘Capernaum’: A street kid in Beirut tries to do the right thing in powerful Oscar-nominated film," 5 Feb. 2019 Peele won the Oscar for best original screenplay—the first time the award has gone to a black recipient. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "All we want for Christmas is the first trailer for Jordan Peele’s Us," 25 Dec. 2018 The filmmakers, working from a screenplay by Maria Camila Arias and Jacques Toulemonde, lend their characters enormous dramatic stature while maintaining a crucial emotional distance. Justin Chang,, "Cannes kicks off with two Spanish-language dramas, 'Everybody Knows' and 'Birds of Passage'," 9 May 2018 Scott Adkins stars in and co-wrote the screenplay for this direct-to-video British revenge thriller, based on a comic book. Chris Ball,, "James Franco in 'The Deuce,' now on DVD and Blu-ray (review)," 16 Feb. 2018 Cuaron was nominated for direction, cinematography, original screenplay and best picture. Jake Coyle, The Seattle Times, "Oscar nods honor ‘Roma,’ ‘The Favourite,’ ‘Black Panther’," 23 Jan. 2019 At Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards alone, Roma is nominated for three awards, including best director, best screenplay, and best foreign-language film. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, "Why the House in Roma Might Help Alfonso Cuaron's Masterpiece Win an Oscar," 5 Jan. 2019 With an outstanding original screenplay by Jenkins, the movie features strong, funny, and heartbreaking performances from Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti, alongside a stellar supporting cast. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The 21 best movies of 2018," 14 Dec. 2018 Fans are expecting a lot of of Villeneuve, who is writing the screenplay with Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Jon Spaihts (Prometheus, Doctor Strange). Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know So Far About Denis Villeneuve's 'Dune'," 14 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'screenplay.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of screenplay

1920, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for screenplay

Last Updated

6 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for screenplay

The first known use of screenplay was in 1920

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English Language Learners Definition of screenplay

: the written form of a movie that also includes instructions on how it is to be acted and filmed : the script for a movie

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