screen·​play | \ˈskrēn-ˌplā \

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

Chris Roven, producer for DC Extended Universe projects told in February that the team is currently working on the screenplay. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Wonder Woman II: Everything We Know So Far," 22 Oct. 2018 The film also benefits immeasurably from the powerful performances by Jones and Jibson, the latter of whom also collaborated on the screenplay. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Lighthouse': Film Review," 4 July 2018 Last year, it was announced that Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who collaborated on the screenplays for the last six Bond films, would be returning to write the new script. Gabe Cohn, New York Times, "Danny Boyle to Direct New James Bond Film," 27 May 2018 However, Aronson said that her brother was still editing A Rainy Day in New York in addition to working on a new screenplay. Stephanie Petit,, "Woody Allen's Sister Says His Daughter Dylan Farrow 'Capitalized' on the #MeToo Movement," 28 Jan. 2018 Mary Harron directed the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho novel, co-writing the screenplay with Guinevere Turner. Ashley Nkadi, Teen Vogue, "15 Scary Movies Directed by Women Perfect for Halloween," 30 Oct. 2018 Janicza Bravo, the Panamanian-American indie director whose directing credits include Atlanta, Dear White People, and Love, has co-written the screenplay — now simply titled Zola — and is set to direct. Devon Maloney, The Verge, "Movie based on viral Zola stripper tweetstorm has a star and director," 9 Oct. 2018 Series creator Julian Fellowes wrote the screenplay and will also be a producer. Zoe Szathmary, Fox News, "'Downton Abbey' movie release date revealed," 19 Sep. 2018 Much of the credit goes to the successful 1968 film version, which starred Katharine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole, won three Oscars and was unfailingly faithful to the stage play, no doubt because Goldman himself wrote the screenplay. Terry Teachout, WSJ, "‘The Lion in Winter’ and ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ Reviews: Resort-Town Theater That’s Worth the Trip," 30 Aug. 2018

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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Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

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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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