Share this entry

cinema Syllabification: cin·e·ma
Pronunciation: /ˈsinəmə/

Definition of cinema in English:


chiefly British
1A movie theater.
Example sentences
  • The films were screened in cinemas across the city and at community meetings.
  • For some very strange reason we are now seeing in cinemas a British film that was made four years ago.
  • In England the film was mainly shown in art house cinemas to art house audiences.
1.1The production of movies as an art or industry: the history of American cinema
More example sentences
  • I don't think Irish cinema has produced anything better than The Butcher Boy.
  • The film also boasts one of the most unexpected plot devices in the history of cinema, which truly has to be seen to be believed.
  • I worked with every single legend in the history of Indian cinema that was alive at that time.


Early 20th century: from French cinéma, abbreviation of cinématographe (see cinematograph).

  • A cinema shows moving pictures, and movement is the root idea of the word. The Greek verb kinein ‘to move’ (the source of kinetic (mid 19th century) and other kine- words related to movement) is the base, and was used by the French brothers Auguste and Louis Jean Lumière to form the word cinématographe for their invention of an apparatus that showed moving pictures, which they patented in 1895. Cinématographe was anglicized to cinematograph, which in turn was abbreviated to cinema, first recorded in English in 1909.

Words that rhyme with cinema


Definition of cinema in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day whippersnapper
Pronunciation: ˈ(h)wipərˌsnapər
a young, inexperienced person considered presumptuous or overconfident...