dossier

[ dos-ee-ey, -ee-er, daw-see-ey, -see-er; French daw-syey ]
/ ˈdɒs iˌeɪ, -i ər, ˈdɔ siˌeɪ, -si ər; French dɔˈsyeɪ /

noun, plural dos·si·ers [dos-ee-eyz, -ee-erz, daw-see-eyz, -see-ers; French daw-syey]. /ˈdɒs iˌeɪz, -i ərz, ˈdɔ siˌeɪz, -si ərs; French dɔˈsyeɪ/.

a collection or file of documents on the same subject, especially a complete file containing detailed information about a person or topic.

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Origin of dossier

1875–80; <French: bundle of documents with a label attached to the back or spine, equivalent to dos (<Latin dorsum) back + -ier-ier2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

VOCAB BUILDER

What does dossier mean?

A dossier is a collection of detailed information about a person or other subject.

The word dossier is popularly associated with espionage, law enforcement, and politics. When used in these contexts, it often refers to a file that includes all the “dirt” on someone (such as secret negative information that could be used to blackmail them).

Example: We’ve been tracking this guy for years—we have a 2,000-page dossier on him.

Where does dossier come from?

Dossier comes directly from French, in which it specifically means a “a bundle of papers with a label on the back.” (In French, dos means “back.”) Dossier has been used in English since at least the late 1800s.

Dossier just means “a collection of documents about the same topic.” Dossiers are typically meant to provide comprehensive, detailed information about a subject. In crime TV shows, when a detective hands another detective a thick folder that’s filled with documents about a suspect’s criminal record (usually with their photo paper-clipped to the front), that’s a dossier (though on TV they often just call it a file). But movies and real-life intrigue have made dossier become closely associated with the kind of secret files compiled by spy agencies and political operatives. In this sense, dossiers often contain things like intercepted emails, hidden bank records, and secretly taken photos of the target in compromising positions.

Still, in general, a dossier can be a file on any single subject. It can contain information on a particular organization, business, or any topic—not just an individual person.

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What are some other forms related to dossier?

  • dossiers (plural)

What are some synonyms for dossier?

What are some words that share a root or word element with dossier

 

 

What are some words that often get used in discussing dossier?

 

How is dossier used in real life?

Dossier can be used in a neutral way that simply refers to a packet of information on a subject. But it is often used to refer to a file filled with secret or scandalous details about a person’s life.

 

 

Try using dossier!

True or False? 

Dossiers always contain secret information that can be used to blackmail someone.

Example sentences from the Web for dossier

British Dictionary definitions for dossier

dossier
/ (ˈdɒsɪˌeɪ, -sɪə, French dosje) /

noun

a collection of papers containing information on a particular subject or person

Word Origin for dossier

C19: from French: a file with a label on the back, from dos back, from Latin dorsum
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