documentary

1 of 2

adjective

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

documentary

2 of 2

noun

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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
In 2009, Taylor earned an Oscar nomination for best documentary short film for The Final Inch, which chronicled the fight to eradicate polio. Kyle Denis, Billboard, 16 Apr. 2024 Award-winning country star Lainey Wilson will be the subject of a documentary special being produced by Robin Roberts‘ production unit at ABC News Studios, to be seen on Hulu, with a premiere date set for May 29. Chris Willman, Variety, 15 Apr. 2024 Scottish composer Erland Cooper’s soaring score for the documentary hints at the end of the trailer that Billy and Molly have to part ways as the noble otter is seen to freely swim again in wild nature. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Apr. 2024 Wayne Lawrence is a documentary photographer and visual artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Tamara Audi, New York Times, 4 Apr. 2024 Cast members from some of Schneider’s biggest shows — including Zoey 101, All That, The Amanda Show, and Drake & Josh — appear in the five-part documentary series to discuss their experiences at the network. Shania Russell, EW.com, 31 Mar. 2024 Under the collective’s documentary film and media fellowship, six Indian heritage filmmakers based in India and U.S. will receive a grant of $2000 each, funded by Color Congress, to progress their ongoing short or long form documentary projects. Patrick Frater, Variety, 3 Apr. 2024 The game features an interactive museum-like exhibit, along with documentary footage of Francis Mechner, now 93, displaying an apparently impeccable memory, recalling details his son forgot. Gene Park, Washington Post, 1 Apr. 2024 The intelligence agency even produced a documentary film about the operation to showcase its triumph. José Bautista, New York Times, 31 Mar. 2024
Noun
Arthouse streamer Mubi has picked up worldwide rights for Witches, the new documentary feature from British director Elizabeth Sankey (Romantic Comedy) and will roll out the movie globally following its world premiere in the Viewpoints section of the Tribeca Festival in June. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Apr. 2024 Films featuring Lily Gladstone and Jenna Ortega and music documentaries about the changing country scene and singer-songwriter Linda Perry will all premiere this spring at Tribeca Film Festival. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 17 Apr. 2024 The program includes 261 films representing 84 countries and regions, including 92 features, 47 documentaries, five archival features, two special tributes, two secret screenings and 115 short films. Selena Kuznikov, Variety, 17 Apr. 2024 Natalia Grace:Barnett case sparks new media buzz, documentaries. The Indianapolis Star, 17 Apr. 2024 Eleanor, in turn, directed a documentary about the making of Apocalypse Now titled Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, which follows Francis during the famously fraught production of his Vietnam War epic. Tommy McArdle, Peoplemag, 16 Apr. 2024 The veteran comedian and legendary quick-on-his-feet improvisor was atypically dumbstruck recently when his Only Murders in the Building co-star Selena Gomez showed up to fete him on the red carpet premiere of his Apple TV+ two-part documentary, Steve! Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 16 Apr. 2024 Even with all the reviews and with big-name producers including Colin Firth and Jamie Foxx backing the project, no distributor has picked up the documentary for mainstream release. Duante Beddingfield, Detroit Free Press, 14 Apr. 2024 In 2016, Wade’s work was covered in The Art of Organized Noize, a documentary about the production trio that features interviews with Andre 3000, Big Boi, Future, Ludacris, 2 Chainz, and more. Nina Corcoran, Pitchfork, 14 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'documentary.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective

see document entry 1

Noun

see document entry 1

First Known Use

Adjective

1802, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1935, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of documentary was in 1802

Dictionary Entries Near documentary

Cite this Entry

“Documentary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/documentary. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

documentary

1 of 2 adjective
doc·​u·​men·​ta·​ry ˌdäk-yə-ˈment-ə-rē How to pronounce documentary (audio)
-ˈmen-trē
1
: consisting of documents
also : being in writing
documentary proof
2
: presenting actual events or facts about something
a documentary film
documentarily adverb

documentary

2 of 2 noun
plural documentaries
: a documentary presentation (as a film or novel)

Legal Definition

documentary

adjective
doc·​u·​men·​ta·​ry ˌdä-kyə-ˈmen-tə-rē How to pronounce documentary (audio)
: being, consisting of, or contained in documents
documentary evidence

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