cam·​era ˈkam-rə How to pronounce camera (audio)
: 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 a photosensitive film or an electronic sensor) or for translation into electrical impulses (as for television broadcast)
: the treasury department of the papal curia
off camera
: while not being filmed by a television or movie camera
he's a different person off camera
: outside the scope of a television or movie camera
sounds of gunfire taking place off camera
on camera
: before a live television camera
go on camera
also : while being filmed by a television or movie camera
looked relaxed on camera
: within the scope of a television or movie camera
you can hear a dog but he never appears on camera

Examples of camera in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Detectives obtained security camera footage from a camera in the tent. Ron Wood,, 19 Feb. 2024 Crew: Director, screenplay, camera, editor, music: Hong Sangsoo. Guy Lodge, Variety, 19 Feb. 2024 While the seven-time Grammy winner sitting on a chair and singing to a camera, a male dancer in stiletto heels begins to tilt her seat back and pulls her along the stage while running. Anna Chan, Billboard, 19 Feb. 2024 There would be more microphones thrust at them and cameras zooming in for close-ups. Riley Robinson, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 Feb. 2024 Everything there is covered with cameras in the colony. Francesca Ebel, Washington Post, 18 Feb. 2024 While Banuelos is in the photo, his back is turned away from the camera, along with Hadid. Charna Flam, Peoplemag, 17 Feb. 2024 On Sunday, an engineering team installed an array of tilt sensors and a camera to monitor the hillside. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Feb. 2024 Footage of the firefight, in which dozens of shots were exchanged, was caught on Deputy Joshua Gordon’s dashboard camera. Grethel Aguila, Miami Herald, 7 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'camera.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Late Latin, room — more at chamber

First Known Use

1566, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of camera was in 1566

Dictionary Entries Near camera

Cite this Entry

“Camera.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


cam·​era ˈkam-(ə-)rə How to pronounce camera (audio)
: a judge's private office
hearings held in camera
: a lightproof box fitted with a lens through which the image of an object is projected onto a surface that is sensitive to light for recording (as on film) or for converting into electrical signals (as for a live television broadcast)

from Latin camera "room, chamber"; sense 2 from the scientific Latin phrase camera obscura, literally, "dark chamber" — related to chamber

More from Merriam-Webster on camera

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