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Etymology 1[edit]

From document +‎ -ation or Medieval Latin documentātio.[1]


documentation (countable and uncountable, plural documentations) (very rare in the plural)

  1. Something transposed from a thought to a document; the written account of an idea.
  2. Documentary evidence and sources.
  3. (computing, mechanical engineering) Documents that explain the operation of a particular machine or software program.
  4. (programming) Comments that explain the usage of individual functions, libraries and blocks of code.
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Etymology 2[edit]

From German Dokumentation.


documentation (plural documentations)

  1. (non-native speakers' English) A documentary.
    • 1997 August 10, mclane, “Chess Analysis Software”, in[1] (Usenet), retrieved 2022-05-01:
      Yesterday I saw a documentation about Hitler and Stalin and the way Hitler cheated Stalin by suggesting him, he would NOT attack UdSSR but Great Britain. It was a very nice documentation, they showed that the whole bolschevism was just an arranged idea of germans, using Lenin/Stalin for own ideas.
    • 1999 April 8, Friedrich Vystrcil, “The plan to invade Japan”, in[2] (Usenet), retrieved 2022-05-01:
      Yesterday I watched a documentation about the Dresden fire storm.
    • 2010 September 16, Volker Bartheld, “This is Germany calling...”, in[3] (Usenet), retrieved 2022-05-01:
      Yesterday, I watched a documentation about the "boss" of a German allot settlement who told other gardeners what plants to grow and what weed to cut. GEEZE! GET A LIVE! I felt tempted paying a visit to them and leave a bunch of knobby tire marks on this sucker's lawn...


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2024) “documentation”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.

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documentation f (plural documentations)

  1. documentation (written account)

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