an instrument capable of transforming sound waves into changes in electric currents or voltage, used in recording or transmitting sound.

Origin of microphone

1875–80; micro-, in sense “enlarging” (extracted from microscope) + -phone
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for microphone

bug, wire, megaphone, recorder, amplifier, speaker

Examples from the Web for microphone

Contemporary Examples of microphone

Historical Examples of microphone

  • The applications of the microphone were soon of great importance.

  • He hauled the microphone from its cubby in the dashboard and spoke the code words.

    Raiders Invisible

    Desmond Winter Hall

  • He thumbed down the communicator-button and spoke into a microphone.

    Pariah Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • When contact had been established, Somers took the microphone and stated their situation.

    Death Wish

    Robert Sheckley

  • He located the communicator controls, and picked up the microphone.

    The Players

    Everett B. Cole

British Dictionary definitions for microphone



a device used in sound-reproduction systems for converting sound into electrical energy, usually by means of a ribbon or diaphragm set into motion by the sound waves. The vibrations are converted into the equivalent audio-frequency electric currentsInformal name: mike See also carbon microphone Compare loudspeaker
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 microphone

1680s, "ear trumpet for the hard-of-hearing," coined from Greek mikros "small" (see mica) + phone "sound" (see fame (n.)). Modern meaning dates from 1929, from use in radio broadcasting and movie recording. Earlier, "amplifying telephone transmitter" (1878). Of the two spellings of the short form of the word, mike (1927) is older than mic (1961).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper