Synopsis Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

Wondering about the meaning of synopsis? If so, you’re in the right place! Keep reading to discover our complete guide on the word synopsis.

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If you’re like many people, you may think that the word “synopsis” can be used interchangeably with “summary.” The truth is that these are two terms with two different meanings. 

In other words, if you’ve been using synopsis in lieu of summary or vice versa, this would be an improper use of grammar. Not to worry, though — we are here to help! 

Read on to explore our complete guide on the synopsis, where you’ll discover the term’s definition, origin, and more.

What Is the Definition of Synopsis?

A synopsis can be as long as several pages or as short as a single paragraph, but this document will always contain a rather compelling summary.

If you are brave enough to think back to your glory days on the playground, we can use the commonly forgotten “book report” as an example. A book report is essentially a synopsis.

You see, book reports are intended to be written to give the reader a general idea of all the comings and goings that happened in the book without actually having to read it.

What Is the Origin of Synopsis?

The etymology or origin of synopsis is made of syn– (“together”) and –opsis (“to view or see.)” Combining these two brings us to its literal meaning — seeing altogether. With its word origin dating back to the 1610s, synopsis was used in Greek and Latin languages. 

The Greek form and late Latin forms of the word were sinopsis, synopsis, and the Greek sunopsis.

What Are the Synonyms of Synopsis?

Below you will find a list of synonyms provided by Power Thesaurus:

  • Abridgment
  • Summing up
  • Roundup
  • Outline sketch
  • Conspectus
  • Summary
  • Aperçu
  • Précis
  • Abstract
  • Rundown
  • Digest
  • Spreadsheet
  • Storyline
  • Syllabus
  • Sum-up
  • Diagram 
  • General view
  • Brief summary
  • Compendium

What Are the Antonyms of Synopsis?

The antonyms of synopsis are as follows:

  • Long-winded
  • Unabridged
  • Full copy
  • Nuts and bolts
  • Meat and potatoes
  • Full transcript
  • Dissertation
  • Exegesis
  • Clarification
  • Essential details
  • Fundamental point
  • Interpretation 
  • Lengthy
  • Expansion
  • Full text
  • Complete version
  • Mishmash
  • Nitty-gritty
  • Facts 
  • Hodgepodge 

Examples of Synopsis in a Sentence

To further your overall understanding of synopsis, we recommend quizzing yourself to see how many sentences you can come up with using our word of the day. If you need some help to get you going, review our example sentences listed below:

Did you know that synopsis is also the name of a prayer book for use by the church’s laity?

I don’t know about you, but I think Karen gave a perfect synopsis of the current issues at hand.

Don’t forget to write a synopsis of the book we read over summer break!

After reading the English dictionary, I learned that synopsis (plural synopses) can be translated into Arabic, Thai, and Greek.

To help us study, our teacher put together a brief synopsis of each book that we will be tested on.

Check back next week for a brief synopsis of the new film. 

I don’t have time to provide you with all the documentary details, but here’s a quick synopsis.

Ms. Cooley asks her class to write a short-and-sweet synopsis of the book, whereas Mr. Davidson requests a lengthy essay.

The synopsis or text for the course hasn’t been given out yet.

I had to write a detailed synopsis of my employment history when applying for the job.

After reading the synopsis, I finally decided to watch the new flick that everyone talked about on social media.

What Is the Difference Between Synopsis and Summary?

When we look at summary and synopsis, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two words — this is rightfully so, seeing as either word can be used as a synonym for the other!

So what’s the difference between synopsis and summary, you ask?

A synopsis can be defined as a brief summary covering all the major points of any written work. On the other hand, a summary is defined as a condensed and abstract presentation of the body of the written material.

A summary is an abstract, speedy, and concise view of the author, whereas a synopsis is a bit more refined with its presentation and carries the gist of a work of prose without actually presenting the writer’s viewpoint.


In short, a synopsis refers to a brief and often condensed summary of something, like a book, play, movie, or TV show. 

Derived from the Ancient Greek word synopsis meaning “general view,” synopsis is a synonym for many words, such as abstract, outline, and abridgment. Other synonyms include compendium, digest, conspectus, and sketch. 

We hope this article has provided you with all the information needed to fully comprehend what synopsis means. If you’d like to expand your overall vocabulary further, check out our website where you’ll discover a ton of interesting words that are just waiting for you to explore!


  1. Synopsis definition | The Cambridge English Dictionary
  2. Summary synonyms Words and Phrases for Summary | Power Thesaurus
  3. Synopsis definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary