[ dok-yuh-men-tuh-ree, -tree ]
/ ˌdɒk yəˈmɛn tə ri, -tri /


Also doc·u·men·tal [dok-yuh-men-tl] /ˌdɒk yəˈmɛn tl/. pertaining to, consisting of, or derived from documents: a documentary history of France.
Movies, Television. based on or re-creating an actual event, era, life story, etc., that purports to be factually accurate and contains no fictional elements: a documentary life of Gandhi.

noun, plural doc·u·men·ta·ries.

Movies, Television. a documentary film, radio or television program, etc.

Nearby words

  1. document,
  2. document reader,
  3. documental,
  4. documentalist,
  5. documentarian,
  6. documentation,
  7. docusoap,
  8. docutainment,
  9. dod,
  10. dodd

Origin of documentary

First recorded in 1795–1805; document + -ary

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for documental

British Dictionary definitions for documental


/ (ˌdɒkjʊˈmɛntərɪ, -trɪ) /


Also: documental consisting of, derived from, or relating to documents
presenting factual material with little or no fictional additionsthe book gives a documentary account of the war

noun plural -ries

a factual film or television programme about an event, person, etc, presenting the facts with little or no fiction
Derived Formsdocumentarily, adverb

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for documental



c.1810, "pertaining to documents," from document + -ary. Meaning "factual, meant to provide a record of something" is from 1926, from French film documentarie (1924). The noun (short for documentary film) is attested from 1935. Docudrama is a 1961 coinage.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper