a tough, highly flammable substance consisting essentially of cellulose nitrate and camphor, used in the manufacture of motion-picture and x-ray film and other products.
motion-picture film.


Informal. of or involving motion pictures.

Origin of celluloid

former trademark; cellul(ose) + -oid
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for celluloid

Contemporary Examples of celluloid

Historical Examples of celluloid

  • Good thing I didn't have on a celluloid collar or 'twould have bust into a blaze.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • When the celluloid is put into the solution it will dissolve it.

  • For other purposes, steel, hard rubber, and celluloid have taken its place.

    Commercial Geography

    Jacques W. Redway

  • Sheets of celluloid prepared for sketching are invaluable in sketching in the rain.

  • That if a spark hits a celluloid collar, the collar will explode.

    The American Credo

    George Jean Nathan

British Dictionary definitions for celluloid



a flammable thermoplastic material consisting of cellulose nitrate mixed with a plasticizer, usually camphor: used in sheets, rods, and tubes for making a wide range of articles
  1. a cellulose derivative used for coating film
  2. one of the transparent sheets on which the constituent drawings of an animated film are prepared
  3. a transparent sheet used as an overlay in artwork
  4. cinema film
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for celluloid

transparent plastic made from nitro-celluloses and camphor, 1871, trademark name (reg. U.S.), a hybrid coined by U.S. inventor John Wesley Hyatt (1837-1900) from cellulose + Greek-based suffix -oid. Used figuratively for "motion pictures" from 1934. Abbreviated form cell "sheet of celluloid" is from 1933 (cf. cel).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper