Old English filmen "membrane, thin skin," from West Germanic *filminjan (cf. Old Frisian filmene "skin," Old English fell "hide"), extended from Proto-Germanic *fello(m) "animal hide," from PIE *pel- (4) "skin, hide" (cf. Greek pella, Latin pellis "skin").
Sense of "a thin coat of something" is 1570s, extended by 1845 to the coating of chemical gel on photographic plates. By 1895 this also meant the coating plus the paper or celluloid. First used of "motion pictures" in 1905.
c.1600, "to cover with a film," from film (v.). Meaning "to make a movie of" is from 1899. Related: Filmed; filming.
A light-sensitive or x-ray-sensitive substance used in taking photographs or radiographs.
A thin layer or membranous coating.