1. a written or printed paper furnishing information or evidence, as a passport, deed, bill of sale, or bill of lading; a legal or official paper.
  2. any written item, as a book, article, or letter, especially of a factual or informative nature.
  3. a computer data file.
  4. Archaic. evidence; proof.

verb (used with object)

  1. to furnish with documents.
  2. to furnish with references, citations, etc., in support of statements made: a carefully documented biography.
  3. to support by documentary evidence: to document a case.
  4. Nautical. to provide (a vessel) with a certificate giving particulars concerning nationality, ownership, tonnage, dimensions, etc.
  5. Obsolete. to instruct.

noun (ˈdɒkjʊmənt)

  1. a piece of paper, booklet, etc, providing information, esp of an official or legal nature
  2. a piece of text or text and graphics stored in a computer as a file for manipulation by document processing software
  3. archaic evidence; proof

verb (ˈdɒkjʊˌmɛnt) (tr)

  1. to record or report in detail, as in the press, on television, etcthe trial was well documented by the media
  2. to support (statements in a book) with citations, references, etc
  3. to support (a claim, etc) with evidence or proof
  4. to furnish (a vessel) with official documents specifying its ownership, registration, weight, dimensions, and function

early 15c., “teaching, instruction,” from Old French document (13c.) “lesson, written evidence,” from Latin documentum “example, proof, lesson,” in Medieval Latin “official written instrument,” from docere “to show, teach” (see doctor (n.)). Meaning “something written that provides proof or evidence” is from early 18c. Related: Documents.


1640s, “to teach;” see document (n.). Meaning “to support by documentary evidence” is from 1711. Related: Documented; documenting.

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