documentary

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

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

Getty Images Erin Lee Carr has an uncanny knack, as the director of several true crime documentaries, for finding hidden depth and nuance in tabloid cases. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Erin Lee Carr’s New Documentary Is a Harrowing Look at the USA Gymnastics Scandal," 2 May 2019 Like Bey's Coachella set, the documentary will include a focus on family, as the trailer teased intimate moments between Bey, her husband, and their kids. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Beyoncé's Homecoming Netflix Documentary: Everything You Need to Know," 8 Apr. 2019 Kate and Gerry, however, opted to not take part in the documentary, which will be released on March 15. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Who Are Madeleine McCann's Parents? What to Know About Kate and Gerry McCann," 14 Mar. 2019 The documentary included interviews with the Prince himself, along with members of his family like Will and Harry. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Stuns in a Pink Dress and Statement Earrings at Prince Charles's Birthday Dinner," 14 Nov. 2018 Adam Lambert, who mentored the contestants on Queen night, is set to appear in the ABC documentary The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Did 'American Idol' Insult Freddie Mercury on Last Night's Queen Episode? Fans Think So," 29 Apr. 2019 Throughout the documentary, Bey kept it real and gave fans an inside look into the demanding physical commitment in the lead-up to her headlining performance. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Beyoncé Cut Out Carbs, Sugar, Dairy, Meat, Fish, and Alcohol from Her Pre-Coachella Diet," 19 Apr. 2019 The documentary will premiere at select theaters on May 13th and will then be released to Indiegogo backers before being released to a wider audience. Popular Mechanics, "Star Trek: DS9 Finally Gets the Documentary It Deserves," 10 Apr. 2019 From Beyoncé's Coachella documentary on Netflix to the Elle Fanning pop star movie, Teen Spirit, the entertainment slate over the next few days is good. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "These 9 TV Shows and Movies Are About to Make Your Week So Much Better," 14 Apr. 2019

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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Statistics for documentary

Last Updated

23 Apr 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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