mi·​cro·​film | \ˈmī-krə-ˌfilm \

Definition of microfilm 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a film bearing a photographic record on a reduced scale of printed or other graphic matter


microfilmed; microfilming; microfilms

Definition of microfilm (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to reproduce on microfilm

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Other Words from microfilm


microfilmable \ˌmī-​krə-​ˈfil-​mə-​bəl \ adjective
microfilmer \ˈmī-​krə-​ˌfil-​mər \ noun

Examples of microfilm in a Sentence


studying newspaper microfilms from the early 1900s

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Wall Street Journal found the missing page in the microfilm copy of the memo. WSJ, "Archangel Endnotes," 9 Nov. 2018 The database was built using Cook County records, two partial cemetery ledgers and several trips to Salt Lake City to transcribe death certificates and coroner’s reports on microfilm readers. Nereida Moreno, chicagotribune.com, "As workers dig at new CPS school site, they try to avoid Dunning’s unmarked graves," 5 Apr. 2018 Anyone who has ever used an old clunky microfilm reader is aware of the often poor and scratched archives from years of use, but the Newspapers.com archives are taken from the original master microfilm, so both print and photos are sharp and clear. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis Star and Indianapolis News archives at your fingertips," 8 Oct. 2015 In the second half of the century, entire libraries were transferred to microform, spun on microfilm reels, or served on tiny microfiche platters, while the crumbling originals were thrown away or pulped. Maria Bustillos, Longreads, "The Internet Isn’t Forever," 20 Feb. 2018 After the war, Rosenstock’s was on East Patrick Street, but after months of poring through microfilm at the C. Burr Artz Public Library in Frederick, Bolcik discovered a tiny ad that placed it on North Market Street in 1860. John Kelly, Washington Post, "On this spot: Two history buffs debunk the story of a famous Civil War photo," 7 June 2018 Newspapers, coins, stamps, government documents, history books, audio tapes and microfilm were among the contents. Pauline Repard, latimes.com, "Time capsule revealing bits of San Diego history from 1961 is opened," 21 May 2018 That was a beautiful dream to those of us searching endlessly and sometimes blindly on microfilm. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis Star and Indianapolis News archives at your fingertips," 8 Oct. 2015 In the late 1920s, the Kodak company suggested microfilm was the solution, neatly compacting an entire newspaper onto a few inches of thin, flexible film. Maria Bustillos, Longreads, "The Internet Isn’t Forever," 20 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Absent that microfilmed archive, maybe Donald Trump could have kept insinuating that Barack Obama had in fact been born in Kenya, and granting sufficient political corruption, that lie might at some later date have become official history. Maria Bustillos, Longreads, "The Internet Isn’t Forever," 20 Feb. 2018 In 2015, the museum partnered with FamilySearch.org, the non-profit leg of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, to index two million microfilmed Freedmen’s Bureau names. Allison Keyes, Smithsonian, "Frederick Douglas’ 200th Birthday Invites Remembrance and Reflection," 8 Feb. 2018

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

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First Known Use of microfilm


1906, in the meaning defined above


1937, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for microfilm


International Scientific Vocabulary

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Statistics for microfilm

Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for microfilm

The first known use of microfilm was in 1906

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More Definitions for microfilm



English Language Learners Definition of microfilm

: film on which very small photographs of the printed pages of a newspaper, magazine, etc., are stored


mi·​cro·​film | \ˈmī-krə-ˌfilm \

Kids Definition of microfilm

: a film on which something (as printing) is recorded in a much smaller size

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More from Merriam-Webster on microfilm

Spanish Central: Translation of microfilm

Nglish: Translation of microfilm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about microfilm

Comments on microfilm

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to make faulty or ineffective

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