cel·​lu·​loid | \ ˈsel-yə-ˌlȯid How to pronounce celluloid (audio) \

Definition of celluloid

1 : a tough flammable thermoplastic composed essentially of cellulose nitrate and camphor
2 : a motion-picture film a work … making its third appearance on celluloid— John McCarten

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from celluloid

celluloid adjective

Examples of celluloid in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Shooting on grainy celluloid would have automatically evoked old Hollywood, but Messerschmidt said that approach was never seriously considered. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The People Who Can See Inside David Fincher’s Head," 9 Dec. 2020 What a tonic was all this family fun on a bit of urban asphalt, far smaller than your typical field of celluloid dreams but doing the job, nonetheless. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Review: At Chicago Children’s Theatre’s 'Beatrix Potter Drive-In,’ the pint-sized people in the back seat get their due," 11 Oct. 2020 Per the museum’s educational YouTube channel, BrainScoop, he and colleague Leon Walters learned to create sculptural replicas of animals using an early plastic called celluloid. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Chicago Field Museum Celebrates the Work of African American Taxidermist Carl Cotton," 4 Mar. 2020 In 2004, Christopher Reeve, the ‘‘Superman’’ of celluloid who became a quadriplegic after a May 1995 horse riding accident, died in Mount Kisco, N.Y., at age 52. BostonGlobe.com, "In 1845, the Naval Academy was established in Annapolis, Md.," 10 Oct. 2019 Thursday’s packed house saluted this Beethoven of celluloid, a spry 86-year-old, with a standing ovation before he had conducted a note. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, "John Williams explores galaxies far and near in enjoyable CSO program of his film music," 27 Apr. 2018 In 2015, a group of filmmakers including Christopher Nolan spearheaded an effort to keep Kodak — the last remaining maker of motion picture film — producing celluloid as a creative option for filmmakers. Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter, "From 'Dunkirk' to 'The Post,' Some Key Oscar Contenders Relied on Film," 25 Dec. 2017 Besides billiard balls, celluloid was used to make lady’s combs and other fashion products like buttons, collars and dentures. Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "Once Upon a Time, Exploding Billiard Balls Were An Everyday Thing," 6 Apr. 2017 Lensed on celluloid in big-sky Montana, the old-fashioned picture will win the hearts of some viewers simply by existing. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Ballad of Lefty Brown': Film Review," 15 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'celluloid.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of celluloid

1870, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for celluloid

from Celluloid, a trademark

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about celluloid

Time Traveler for celluloid

Time Traveler

The first known use of celluloid was in 1870

See more words from the same year

Statistics for celluloid

Cite this Entry

“Celluloid.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/celluloid. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for celluloid



English Language Learners Definition of celluloid

: a tough kind of plastic that was used in the past to make photographic film and other products
: the film used to make movies

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on celluloid

Nglish: Translation of celluloid for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of celluloid for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about celluloid

Comments on celluloid

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!