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

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 And the account of his behavior while collaborating on the documentary is evidence of Mr. Kelly’s welcome refusal to present any argument in pure black and white. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Carey Mulligan Tells a Harrowing Tale of ‘Girls & Boys’," 27 June 2018 This month, a new documentary about Aucoin's life is being released. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Exclusive: See The Trailer for The New Documentary About Legendary Makeup Artist Kevyn Aucoin," 27 June 2018 In a summer filled with superheroes, sequels, and ABBA sing-alongs, the new documentary Three Identical Strangers is a breath of fresh air. Shannon Carlin, refinery29.com, "The Story Of Three Identical Strangers Is Taking Over The Internet," 26 June 2018 Produced in association with Brand USA, presented by Expedia, and narrated by Morgan Freeman, the MacGillivray Freeman Films documentary is currently on IMAX and giant screens in museums and science centers across the U.S. and Canada. Karen Bliss, Billboard, "Aloe Blacc on 'America's Musical Journey' Doc, His Forthcoming Album & Unreleased Songs With Avicii," 20 June 2018 For 60 years, Anderson’s role in American toy history has been mostly unknown but a new film documentary is giving the vivacious 94-year-old Carlsbad widow her long-overdue moment in the California sun. Pam Kragen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Carlsbad's 'Hula Girl' gives her spin on toy's history," 9 June 2018 After having screened a number of films in the festival, what strikes me most about this documentary is how history repeats itself, even among reversals. Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader, "History repeats itself over and over again at the African Diaspora Film Festival," 8 June 2018 The documentary was an outlier at a time when visions of black and Latin queerhood were essentially nonexistent on TV and in film. Jason Parham, WIRED, "With Pose, Prestige TV Becomes Resistance TV," 1 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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