mi·​cro·​film | \ ˈmī-krə-ˌfilm How to pronounce microfilm (audio) \

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 How to pronounce microfilmable (audio) \ adjective
microfilmer \ ˈmī-​krə-​ˌfil-​mər How to pronounce microfilmer (audio) \ noun

Examples of microfilm in a Sentence


studying newspaper microfilms from the early 1900s

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Or his daughter-in-law, who unlocks the door to her newspaper office so Lincoln can check the microfilm? Mameve Medwed, BostonGlobe.com, "In Richard Russo’s “Chances Are...,” an incomplete reunion brings overdue revelations," 25 July 2019 Using old newspaper articles on microfilm, deeds, and other records, the Fellows pieced together portraits of the lives lost. John Hammontree | Jhammontree@al.com, al.com, "Could a new monument heal Jefferson County’s racial divide?," 22 July 2019 Just consider some of what was lost in the Los Angeles Central Library fire, as detailed in Orlean’s book: Patent listings, magazines, microfilm, unbound manuscripts and 400,000 books of all types. Martin Wolk, latimes.com, "Why Susan Orlean sees a bright future for public libraries," 20 June 2019 Eventually, however, a microfilm was smuggled out of the Soviet Union, and, in 1980, the text was finally published, in Switzerland, in the original Russian. Robert Chandler, The New Yorker, "How the Soviet Literary Establishment Censored Vasily Grossman," 19 June 2019 Each letter, limited to 700 words, would be written on regular stationery, then photographed (after clearance by government censors); that image was transferred to a roll of microfilm for transportation. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "12 Geeky Ways to Deliver Mail: U.S. Postal Service Technology Through the Ages," 18 Jan. 2019 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

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

28 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce microfilm (audio) \

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

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


readily or continually undergoing change

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