documentary

adjective
doc·​u·​men·​ta·​ry | \ -ˈmen-tə-rē How to pronounce documentary (audio) , -ˈmen-trē\

Definition of documentary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : being or consisting of documents : contained or certified in writing documentary evidence
2 : of, relating to, or employing documentation (see documentation sense 2) in literature or art broadly : factual, objective a documentary film of the war

documentary

noun
plural documentaries

Definition of documentary (Entry 2 of 2)

: a presentation (such as a film or novel) expressing or dealing with factual events : a documentary presentation

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Other Words from documentary

Adjective

documentarily \ -​mən-​ˈter-​ə-​lē How to pronounce documentarily (audio) , -​ˌmen-​ \ adverb

Examples of documentary in a Sentence

Adjective

You must present documentary proof of your residence. a documentary film about the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor

Noun

We watched a documentary on the early history of jazz.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Souls is being touted as that increasingly common beast, the fiction-documentary hybrid, but on this evidence Toucedo would do better to stick to the documentary side of things. Jonathan Holland, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Thirty Souls' ('Trinta Lumes'): Film Review | Berlin 2018," 21 Feb. 2018 At the time, his team was promoting its documentary film, called Coexist, about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Dawnland Documentary Shows How the U.S. Government Took Indigenous Children From Their Homes — and Placed Them With White Families," 5 Nov. 2018 Ford traveled to Indonesia to better understand the challenges of deforestation, taking viewers along with him in Showtime's Years of Living Dangerously documentary television series. Sarah Bowman, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana Jones honored by Indianapolis Zoo: Harrison Ford wins award for wildlife conservation," 10 July 2018 Robinson ruled last month that Kansas cannot require documentary proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote, finding such laws are unconstitutional. Roxana Hegeman, The Seattle Times, "Kansas official follows order, registers thousands to vote," 9 July 2018 Here, he is represented by cybernetic drawings, documentary photographs and a video that shows him making an inflatable plastic sculpture with his students. New York Times, "10 Galleries to Visit Now on the Upper East Side," 26 Apr. 2018 In an era of shrinking news budgets, alternative-truths and fervor over fake news, the films, part of a documentary renaissance, are vital journalism in a multiplatform, streaming world. Jeffrey Fleishman, latimes.com, "Documentary films explore the despair of America's heroin and opioid epidemic," 6 July 2018 That won’t be Ocasio-Cortez’s only documentary appearance. Rebecca Keegan, HWD, "Documentaries Just Might Solve Everything," 29 June 2018 Good films always raise compelling questions, whether the format is fiction or documentary fact. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Three Identical Strangers’ Review: A Family Reunion Like No Other," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The spectacle called for not one, but two documentaries being made about the fiasco. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "This Former Fyre Festival Employee Just Launched a Home Line," 26 Feb. 2019 Gutheinz has scored commercials, films, TV shows, and documentaries. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "Why Does Every Tech Ad Use the Same Song? Because of This Man.," 26 Feb. 2019 In pictures from the October 1990 screening at the Museum of Modern Art of Made in Milan, Martin Scorsese's documentary on the designer, Radziwill can be seen, beaming between the two men, in perfectly fitted black velvet. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "How Lee Radziwill Become the Ultimate Fashion Muse," 19 Feb. 2019 Per Popsugar, Randolph also starred on Young Once, an ongoing documentary series about Christian teens who live in Southern California. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "'The Bachelor' Star Cassie Randolph Is Starring On Another Reality Show As Well," 6 Feb. 2019 Knowing Honnold will be okay doesn’t make this documentary any less awe-inspiring, or nerve-wracking. Noel Murray, The Verge, "The 10 best documentaries of 2018," 18 Dec. 2018 Weichel, who was named to THR's Next Gen list in 2017, has also served as an executive producer on a number of her clients' projects, including film Camp Takota and YouTube Red documentary A Trip to Unicorn Island. Natalie Jarvey, The Hollywood Reporter, "Anonymous Content Taps Sarah Weichel to Lead Emerging Platforms Division (Exclusive)," 13 July 2018 It was supposed to be this bigtime Showtime documentary and it was passed on to me by a speakers bureau.’’ On Thursday, Cohen appeared to respond to Palin’s account of the interview via a character named Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., who Cohen retweeted. Bethonie Butler, BostonGlobe.com, "Here’s how Sacha Baron Cohen fools celebrities into embarrassing interviews, starting with ‘Da Ali G Show’," 13 July 2018 Tim Wardle’s documentary contains as many twists as a great thriller. Bill Goodykoontz, Detroit Free Press, "Review: Documentary explores a dark family reunion," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'documentary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of documentary

Adjective

1802, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1935, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for documentary

Adjective

see document entry 1

Noun

see document entry 1

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Last Updated

7 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for documentary

The first known use of documentary was in 1802

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More Definitions for documentary

documentary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of documentary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: consisting of documents : written down

documentary

noun

English Language Learners Definition of documentary (Entry 2 of 2)

: a movie or television program that tells the facts about actual people and events

documentary

noun
doc·​u·​men·​ta·​ry | \ ˌdä-kyə-ˈmen-tə-rē How to pronounce documentary (audio) , -ˈmen-trē\
plural documentaries

Kids Definition of documentary

: a film that tells the facts about something

documentary

adjective
doc·​u·​men·​ta·​ry | \ ˌdä-kyə-ˈmen-tə-rē How to pronounce documentary (audio) \

Legal Definition of documentary

: being, consisting of, or contained in documents documentary evidence

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