noun cam·era \ˈkam-rə, ˈka-mər-ə\

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 and Etymology of camera

Late Latin, room — more at chamber

First Known Use: 1712

Other Pictures (on film) Terms

CAMERA Defined for English Language Learners


noun cam·era \ˈkam-rə, ˈka-mər-ə\

Definition of camera for English Language Learners

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

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

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a Mesopotamian temple tower

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