The Meaning of Dossier: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of dossier? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word dossier, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word dossier mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the word dossier is a noun that means a collection of papers that contain detailed information about a particular subject, particular person, or a person’s record. An attorney might present a dossier of evidence in a courtroom, or someone might present a dossier of complaints to a person to take disciplinary action. In a dossier, all of the documents are related to the same topic. The word dossier is three syllables – dos-si-er, and the pronunciation of dossier is ˈdɒsɪeɪ, or sometimes people end the word in an “ier” sound which is also acceptable.

Many different languages also have words that mean dossier. You may notice that many of these words look or sound similar to the word dossier. These cognates are formed when two words are of a similar origin. Many different languages are of similar origins. This list of translations for the word dossier is provided by Word Sense. You can also find different translations of words in something like a Spanish Dictionary, French Dictionary, German Dictionary, or a plethora of other different online resources that provide translation services.

  •  Arabic: مِلَفّ‎ (masc.)
  •  Japanese: 一件書類‎ (いっけんしょるい, ikken shorui)
  •  Mandarin: 卷宗‎ (juànzōng), 檔案‎, 档案‎ (dàng’àn)
  •  German: Dossier‎ (neut.), Akte‎ (fem.)
  •  Persian: دوسیه‎ (dosie)
  •  Bulgarian: досие‎
  •  Polish: dossier‎ (neut.), akta‎
  •  Swedish: dossier‎
  •  Czech: akta‎ (pl.)
  •  French: dossier‎ (masc.)
  •  Dutch: dossier‎ (neut.)
  •  Finnish: asiakirjat‎ (pl.), paperit‎ (pl.)
  •  Ido: dosiero‎
  •  Spanish: dosier‎ (masc.)
  •  Portuguese: dossiê‎ (masc.)
  •  Russian: досье́‎ (neut.), де́ло‎ (neut.), па́пка‎ (fem.)

What is the origin of the word dossier?

According to Etymonline, the word dossier has been used to refer to a bundle of documents since 1880 in the late 19th century. This comes from the French dossier meaning a bundle of papers, from the French dos meaning back, a 12c word that comes from the Vulgar Latin dossum and Latin dorsum, which means back. This is where we get the related word dorsal. This word probably comes from the French dossiere which referred to a back-strap or ridge strap on a horse’s harness, perhaps because the bundle bore a label on the back or bore resemblance to the curve of the spine or back of a horse.

What are synonyms of dossier?

There are many equivalent words and phrases that one can use in place of the word dossier. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have a similar or the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are looking to expand your vocabulary or if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word dossier is provided by Power Thesaurus. There are few opposite words for dossier.

  •  catalogue
  •  annals
  •  advice
  •  application
  •  brief
  •  knowledge
  •  report
  •  base
  •  documentation
  •  description
  •  documentations
  •  minutes
  •  archive
  •  in formation
  •  muniment
  •  proceedings
  •  medical history
  •  written socument
  •  complete file
  •  file of documents
  •  contention
  •  legal paper
  •  intelligence
  •  deed
  •  case history
  •  evidence
  •  file
  •  list
  •  backrest
  •  register
  •  returns
  •  case
  •  filles
  •  records
  •  box file
  •  holograph
  •  roll
  •  dope
  •  chirograph
  •  form
  •  abstracts
  •  portrait
  •  circular file
  •  deeds
  •  case study
  •  account
  •  matter
  •  diary
  •  legal document
  •  briefs
  •  annal
  •  chronicles
  •  directory
  •  certificates
  •  notes
  •  proof
  •  anamnesis
  •  heading
  •  return
  •  document
  •  dossiers
  •  reports
  •  paper
  •  files
  •  instruments
  •  material
  •  archives
  •  log
  •  info
  •  docket
  •  record
  •  categorizer
  •  inside story
  •  medical record
  •  certificate
  •  legal instrument
  •  blank
  •  data
  •  compilations
  •  summary
  •  information
  •  folder
  •  fille
  •  facts
  •  inform
  •  history
  •  portfolio
  •  daytimer
  •  writing
  •  logbook
  •  psychiatric history
  •  chapter and verse
  •  argument
  •  profile
  •  casebook
  •  chronicle
  •  instrument
  •  journal
  •  accounts
  •  transactions
  •  issue
  •  papers
  •  documents

How can dossier be used in a sentence?

The word dossier can be used in many different ways in the English language. This is a great way to learn new words. It is difficult to learn new lingo, but you could also try making a quiz or flashcards to test your knowledge of a vast collection of words. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are several examples of dossier to get you started!

The members of the local women’s group that were trying to get pregnant via a sperm donor received complete dossiers on the potential donors. These thick dossiers from the biological sector were meant to prevent future issues and provide cooperative information and knowledge of facts so the women could know everything about their donor. If there were dodgy dossiers in play, this would affect a child’s life, so the insurance companies were strict.

The South Jakarta district court presented thick dossiers from the police investigation. It was a sad affair when the indictment dossiers were read aloud on Friday last month. Each written document revealed more evidence against the defendant, from evidence on cameras to license plate numbers.

The first floor of the library in the Department of Transport near Princeton University was filled with dossiers of information, and the second floor was filled with full dossiers of car owners in the area. This library provided the greatest number of public information files in the state, and had since the 1950s.

When the council officials presented the dossier to the large theatre organisation, they decided to open questions to all of the attendees, who finally got a peek behind the borror that went on behind closed doors.

Overall, the word dossier means a packet of papers or information. This is usually a formal bundle of information, and is always on the same topic. Someone might use a dossier to present legal evidence or for a person’s record.


  1. Dossier synonyms – 219 Words and Phrases for Dossier | Power Thesaurus 
  2. dossier: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  3. dossier | Origin and meaning of dossier | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  4. Dossier definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary