a film bearing a miniature photographic copy of printed or other graphic matter, usually of a document, newspaper or book pages, etc., made for a library, archive, or the like.
a film, especially of motion-picture stock, on which microcopies are made.

verb (used with object)

to make a microfilm of.

Origin of microfilm

First recorded in 1930–35; micro- + film
Related formsmi·cro·film·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for microfilm

Historical Examples of microfilm

  • He got out the microfilm reels which contained more information.

    Pariah Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • On the body of the imitation Rat, he found a belt-pouch full of microfilm.

    The Measure of a Man

    Randall Garrett

  • The old entries were on microfilm, stored on their spools near the reader.

    Gold in the Sky

    Alan Edward Nourse

  • However, he stated that he received the microfilm of the edition too late for use in his edition!

  • When I tackled that double I managed to slip a microfilm capsule into his pocket.

    Daughters of Doom

    Herbert B. Livingston

British Dictionary definitions for microfilm



a strip of film of standard width on which books, newspapers, documents, etc, can be recorded in miniaturized form


to photograph (a page, document, etc) on microfilm
See also microfiche
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 microfilm

1927, coined from micro- + film (n.). The verb is first recorded 1940, from the noun. Related: Microfilmed; microfilming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

microfilm in Culture


A film on which miniature copies of documents are reproduced. Microfilm allows for very compact storage of books and documents.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.