documentary

adjective
doc·​u·​men·​ta·​ry | \-ˈmen-tə-rē, -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 , -​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

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 The Vandal team’s documentary ethos naturally extends off-script, too. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "How American Vandal expertly crafted a doc (that just happened to be fiction)," 23 June 2018 Along for the journey will be documentary filmmaker Aleshia Mueller. Pam Kragen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Blind cycling team to ride across country," 16 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Charles' wife, Camilla, also opens up about the day in the documentary—and reveals that royals had the wedding on replay just like us. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Prince Harry Reveals How He Asked Prince Charles to Walk Meghan Markle Down the Aisle," 8 Nov. 2018 In the documentary, Harry met with the eight members of the Caribbean Scholars Initiative who were living in Buckingham Palace for a six-week training program with the royal household. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "16 Surprising Facts from HBO's 'Queen of the World' Royal Documentary," 29 Sep. 2018 Hogancamp built a miniature World War II era diorama called Marwencol, which is also the name of the award-winning 2010 documentary and 2015 book about his story. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "The Trailer for Steve Carell’s New Movie ‘Welcome to Marwen’ Is Making People Sob," 25 July 2018 Philip Stander, a scientist featured in the documentary, led an effort to protect the area’s few remaining big cats. Erin Blakemore, Washington Post, "Rare desert lions are magnificent, and you can see them in their home territory," 8 July 2018 The retro model is the narrative engine of the new documentary Three Identical Strangers. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Three Identical Men and a Mystery," 5 July 2018 Joining her on the red carpet (actually red floral) at the Castro theater Thursday night was her daughter-in-law, retired Army veteran Laila Ireland, who also is interviewed in the documentary about her transition from male to female. Ruthe Stein, SFChronicle.com, "Proud family attends S.F. Frameline LBGTQ film fest opening of ‘TransMilitary’," 15 June 2018 Being an expedition for the digital age, the Longest Swim has a Twitter handle (@thelongestswim), a small raft of YouTube videos, a Facebook page about the beginning of the swim and a documentary film crew, from Nomadica Films, in tow. NBC News, "Man begins to swim across Pacific Ocean, garbage patch and all," 5 June 2018 An hour-long documentary about Ed Lee is in the works, and the Chinese Historical Society of America has turned to GoFundMe.com to raise $50,000 for the project. Leah Garchik, SFChronicle.com, "Filmmakers, historians making Ed Lee documentary," 28 June 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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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, -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 \

Legal Definition of documentary 

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

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