Photo of author


The word dossier has a very straightforward meaning, though it has a very heavy connotation. A connotation is a feeling or meaning a word evokes beyond its literal meaning. We will examine the definition and connotation of the word dossier, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A dossier is a collection of papers, documents or reports that all pertain to one subject, person or event. The word dossier does not carry a negative meaning, however it has taken on a negative connotation. This is probably due to the fact that the word dossier has been used extensively in spy novels to mean reports on enemies of the state or in criminal contexts. Dossier is a borrowed or loan word, which is a word that has been borrowed from another language and used as an English word. It comes from the French, originally meaning a bundle of papers, derived from the word dos meaning back. This refers to the labels being affixed to the back or spine of the files.


“The dossier,” as it came to be known, was compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer hired by Fusion GPS to research Trump, and its contents had circulated for months among certain journalists, members of Congress, and employees of the FBI. (Rolling Stone Magazine)

Boston officials seeking to land Amazon’s second North American headquarters put together dossiers on top Amazon officials to fine-tune and personalize their pitch. (The Puget Sound Business Journal)

Denis O’Brien has named Declan Ganley as the client behind the dossier that he alleges was created and circulated to damage him and his telecommunications company’s reputation. (The Times)