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[noun dok-yuh-muh nt; verb dok-yuh-ment] /noun ˈdɒk yə mənt; verb ˈdɒk yəˌmɛnt/
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.
any written item, as a book, article, or letter, especially of a factual or informative nature.
a computer data file.
Archaic. evidence; proof.
verb (used with object)
to furnish with documents.
to furnish with references, citations, etc., in support of statements made:
a carefully documented biography.
to support by documentary evidence:
to document a case.
Nautical. to provide (a vessel) with a certificate giving particulars concerning nationality, ownership, tonnage, dimensions, etc.
Obsolete. to instruct.
Origin of document
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin documentum example (as precedent, warning, etc.), equivalent to doc- (stem of docēre to teach) + -u- (variant of -i- -i- before labials) + -mentum -ment
Related forms
[dok-yuh-men-tuh-buh l, dok-yuh-men-] /ˈdɒk yəˌmɛn tə bəl, ˌdɒk yəˈmɛn-/ (Show IPA),
documenter, noun
nondocumented, adjective, noun
redocument, verb (used with object)
well-documented, adjective
6. corroborate, verify, substantiate, validate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for document
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This was the document he had handed over to the actress the night before.

    A Nest of Spies Pierre Souvestre
  • But what will not serve as a document to the modern historian?

    The Creed of the Old South 1865-1915 Basil L. Gildersleeve
  • Lola tore the document to pieces and threw them in their faces.

    Lola Montez Edmund B. d'Auvergne
  • The old man may have left a document behind likely to solve the whole business.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
  • He may take notes of it during the reading, but not receive a copy, because it is a document to be sent to the Senate!

British Dictionary definitions for document


noun (ˈdɒkjʊmənt)
a piece of paper, booklet, etc, providing information, esp of an official or legal nature
a piece of text or text and graphics stored in a computer as a file for manipulation by document processing software
(archaic) evidence; proof
verb (transitive) (ˈdɒkjʊˌmɛnt)
to record or report in detail, as in the press, on television, etc: the trial was well documented by the media
to support (statements in a book) with citations, references, etc
to support (a claim, etc) with evidence or proof
to furnish (a vessel) with official documents specifying its ownership, registration, weight, dimensions, and function
Word Origin
C15: from Latin documentum a lesson, from docēre to teach
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
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Word Origin and History for document

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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document in Technology

1. Any specific type of file produced or edited by a specific application; usually capable of being printed. E.g. "Word document", "Photoshop document", etc.
2. A term used on some systems (e.g. Intermedia) for a hypertext node. It is sometimes used for a collection of nodes on related topics, possibly stored or distributed as one.
3. To write documentation on a certain piece of code.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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