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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

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

Several months into their development and research process, producers found a home for the documentary in the female-focused Lifetime channel. John Jurgensen, WSJ, "‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Sparks Debate and a Ratings Hit," 10 Jan. 2019 In 1969, the queen decided her family had received enough exposure from giving a TV crew unusual access for a documentary. Frank Augstein, The Seattle Times, "Queen Elizabeth II riffs on wisdom, family’s busy year," 26 Dec. 2018 That film went on to make $222.4 million worldwide, a record for documentaries. Frank Miles, Fox News, "Michael Moore’s ‘Fahrenheit 11/9’ falls flat at the box office with dismal $3 million opening," 24 Sep. 2018 Had that '88 Dodgers team not won it all, Costas agreed there might not have been a need for this documentary. Tom Hoffarth, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Only in Hollywood': How MLB Network Captures the Drama (and Humor) of the '88 Dodgers," 13 July 2018 The Queen and Prince Philip hosted him at Buckingham Palace and exchanged signed photos of themselves, while a television crew captured the occasion for a documentary called the Royal Family, broadcast later that year. Ciara Nugent, Time, "Here's How Every Meeting Between the Queen and a U.S. President Went," 12 July 2018 And people who come to the games with little kids, and manage to stay all nine innings, deserve their own ESPN 30 for 30 documentary. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "From the cheap seats: A thank you to fans who get the shaft," 10 June 2018 The first trailer for an HBO documentary based on the life of late comedian Robin Williams has arrived. Shanté Honeycutt, Billboard, "'Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind' Documentary: Watch the Trailer," 8 June 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about documentary

Share documentary

Statistics for documentary

Last Updated

7 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for documentary

The first known use of documentary was in 1802

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on documentary

What made you want to look up documentary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the range of authority or knowledge

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!