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noun cam·era \ˈkam-rə, ˈka-mər-ə\

Simple Definition of camera

  • : a device that is used for taking photographs or for making movies, television programs, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of camera

  1. 1 :  the treasury department of the papal curia

  2. 2 a :  camera obscura b :  a device that consists of a lightproof chamber with an aperture fitted with a lens and a shutter through which the image of an object is projected onto a surface for recording (as on film) or for translation into electrical impulses (as for television broadcast)

off camera
  1. 1 :  while not being filmed by a television or movie camera <he's a different person off camera>

  2. 2 :  outside the scope of a television or movie camera <sounds of gunfire taking place off camera>

on camera
  1. 1 :  before a live television camera <go on camera>; also :  while being filmed by a television or movie camera <looked relaxed on camera>

  2. 2 :  within the scope of a television or movie camera <you can hear a dog but he never appears on camera>

Origin of camera

Late Latin, room — more at chamber

First Known Use: 1712

Other Pictures (on film) Terms

CAMERA Defined for Kids


noun cam·era \ˈkam-rə\

Definition of camera for Students

  1. 1 :  a device that has a lens on one side to let light in and is used for taking pictures

  2. 2 :  the part of a television sending device in which the image to be sent out is formed

History for camera

The word camera is short for camera obscura, which in Latin means “dark room.” A camera obscura is a darkened enclosure—which can be as small as a box or as large as a room—into which light is admitted through a very small hole. Because of the way in which light beams cross rather than scatter, an upside-down image of whatever is outside the enclosure is projected on the surface opposite the hole. The image can be made brighter by passing the light through a lens. The first photographic camera was simply a camera obscura with the image projected on light-sensitive chemicals.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up camera? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the range of perception or understanding

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