[ kom-uh n-ter-ee ]
/ ˈkɒm ənˌtɛr i /

noun, plural com·men·tar·ies.

a series of comments, explanations, or annotations: a commentary on the Bible; news followed by a commentary.
an explanatory essay or treatise: a commentary on a play; Blackstone's commentaries on law.
anything serving to illustrate a point, prompt a realization, or exemplify, especially in the case of something unfortunate: The dropout rate is a sad commentary on our school system.
Usually commentaries. records of facts or events: Commentaries written by Roman lawyers give us information on how their courts functioned.

Origin of commentary

1375–1425; late Middle English commentaries (plural) < Latin commentārium notebook, noun use of neuter of commentārius, equivalent to comment(um) comment + -ārius -ary
Related formscom·men·tar·i·al [kom-uh n-tair-ee-uh l] /ˌkɒm ənˈtɛər i əl/, adjectivesu·per·com·men·tar·y, noun, plural su·per·com·men·tar·ies. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for commentary

British Dictionary definitions for commentary


/ (ˈkɒməntərɪ, -trɪ) /

noun plural -taries

an explanatory series of notes or comments
a spoken accompaniment to a broadcast, film, etc, esp of a sporting event
an explanatory essay or treatise on a text
(usually plural) a personal record of events or factsthe commentaries of Caesar
Derived Formscommentarial (ˌkɒmənˈtɛərɪəl), adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for commentary



1530s, from Middle French commentaire, or directly from Latin commentarius "notebook, annotation; diary, memoir," noun use of adjective, "relating to comments," from commentum (see comment (n.)). Perhaps the Latin noun is short for volumen commentarium. Originally in English as an adjective (early 15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper