Meaning of “documentary” in the English Dictionary

"documentary" in British English

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documentarynoun [ C ]

uk /ˌdɒk.jəˈmen.tər.i/ us /ˌdɑː.kjəˈmen.t̬ɚ.i/

B1 a film or television or radio programme that gives facts and information about a subject:

The documentary took a fresh look at the life of Darwin.
They showed a documentary on animal communication.

More examples

  • We're compiling some facts and figures for a documentary on the subject.
  • The documentary was made on location in the Gobi desert.
  • The documentary presented us with a balanced view of the issue.
  • The documentary went through all the graphic details of the operation in unsparing detail.
  • The documentary was a misrepresentation of the truth and bore little resemblance to actual events.

documentaryadjective [ before noun ]

uk /ˌdɒk.jəˈmen.tər.i/ us /ˌdɑː.kjəˈmen.t̬ɚ.i/

(Definition of “documentary” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"documentary" in American English

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documentarynoun [ C ]

us /ˌdɑk·jəˈmen·tə·ri/

a film or television or radio program that gives information about a subject and is based on facts:

a documentary on animal communication

documentaryadjective [ not gradable ]


consisting of official documents or other written or printed material:

documentary evidence

(Definition of “documentary” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)