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

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There was also a control session that involved watching a documentary and not masturbating at all. Rachel Jacoby Zoldan, SELF, "14 Benefits of Female Masturbation and Why Every Woman Should Do It," 31 Dec. 2018 Even before ordering the destruction of the ballots, Snipes had refused public records requests from both Canova and a documentary filmmaker who was making a film about election transparency. Jane Coaston, Vox, "Brenda Snipes says she won’t resign as Broward County election supervisor after all," 3 Dec. 2018 Today in the red chair is Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, documentary filmmaker and now a book author. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: ‘Dear America’ author Jose Antonio Vargas on Recode Decode," 24 Nov. 2018 In a new documentary celebrating the 70th birthday of Prince Charles—Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70—the Duke of Sussex opens up about asking his dad to walk Markle down the aisle. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Prince Harry Reveals How He Asked Prince Charles to Walk Meghan Markle Down the Aisle," 8 Nov. 2018 That news, plus Surviving Mars and Total War: Warhammer II unveil expansions, Mike Morhaime departs Blizzard after 27 years, Gameumentary puts out an hour-long documentary on Divinity developer Larian, and... Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Total War: Warhammer II adds undead pirates, Amazon's MMO leaks on Pornhub," 5 Oct. 2018 Vasarhelyi is an accomplished documentary filmmaker, and Chin has had a prosperous career taking pictures and shooting video for National Geographic and other outdoor lifestyle and extreme sports media companies. Noel Murray, The Verge, "For sweaty palms and white knuckles, watch Free Solo in theaters and Meru on Netflix," 28 Sep. 2018 Oscar-winning actor Tim Robbins is apparently narrating an anti-straw-pollution documentary. Caille Millner, SFChronicle.com, "A splash of cold water on straw-ban fervor: Many people with disabilities need them," 13 July 2018 This Oscar-winning documentary was produced and directed by Barbara Kopple. Caroline Rogers, Southern Living, "Classic Documentaries Everyone Should See at Least Once," 18 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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Statistics for documentary

Last Updated

28 Nov 2018

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, -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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