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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

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

Those passions included human rights and racial justice, which were reflected in her work as a documentary filmmaker. Danny Mcdonald, BostonGlobe.com, "Accomplished filmmaker and therapist from Concord dies on Nantucket," 11 July 2018 Over the past two months, a film crew from New York has been conducting preliminary interviews for a documentary. Pam Kragen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Win or lose, baseball's just as sweet for exonerated man," 11 July 2018 Dan Manatt, a documentary filmmaker who drafted both petitions, attended Sidwell and Georgetown with Cissna. Perry Stein, Washington Post, "Sidwell graduates urge Trump official, a fellow alum, to nix immigration policies," 9 July 2018 The movie was a documentary about a school in one of Cincinnati’s poorest neighborhoods. Keith Bierygolick, Cincinnati.com, "Black students in Mason: I didn’t want to come to school after Trump was elected," 5 July 2018 Jessica, a landscape architect in Boston, tunes out the news with obscure documentaries about the history of toys and cars. Jaclyn Gallucci, Fortune, "Freaked-Out Americans Are Desperately Seeking Escape From the News," 30 June 2018 Watch the trailer: Love, Cecil is not Vreeland’s first documentary about a visionary artist. Spencer Whaley, Town & Country, "The Secret Life of Cecil Beaton, the Royal Family's Favorite Photographer," 28 June 2018 Yes, there’s already a documentary about the Thai soccer team and their coach who were stuck in a cave for 18 days. Heather Hansman, Outside Online, "The Newest Adventure Movies You Can Watch Right Now," 12 July 2018 Identical triplets separated at birth reunite in this documentary. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "'Three Identical Strangers:' A fascinating, if incomplete, puzzle," 5 July 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.

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

5 Sep 2018

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, -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

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

exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!