Document - Encyclopedia




GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

DOCUMENT, strictly, in law, that which can serve as evidence or proof, and is written or printed, or has an inscription or any significance that can be "read"; thus a picture, authenticated photograph, seal or the like would furnish "documentary evidence." More generally the word is used for written or printed papers that provide information or evidence on a subject. The Latin documentum, from which the word is derived, meant, in classical times, a lesson, example or proof (docere, to teach), and only in medieval Latin came to be applied to an instrumentum, or record in writing. The classical Latin use is found in English; thus Jeremy Taylor (Works, ed. 1835, i. 815) speaks of punishment being a "single and sudden document if instantly inflicted" (see Diplomatic; and Evidence).

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