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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ But does it exist anywhere outside coiled up rolls of decaying celluloid of pre-war films?
▪ But the celluloid dreams filtered through.
▪ Given the ferocious imagination of his subconscious, it's hardly surprising that his celluloid output is laced with lethal barbed wire.
▪ However, this has not necessarily proved to be the case when the time has come to commit the words to celluloid.
▪ Their credit is on that celluloid.
▪ There was a pale-pink celluloid rattle on his desk.
▪ This is immediately obvious in the casting - few characters differ greatly from their celluloid counterparts.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Celluloid \Cel"lu*loid`\ (s[e^]l"[-u]*loid), n. [Cellulose + -oid.] A substance composed essentially of gun cotton and camphor, and when pure resembling ivory in texture and color, but variously colored to imitate coral, tortoise shell, amber, malachite, etc. It is used in the manufacture of jewelry and many small articles, as combs, brushes, collars, and cuffs; -- originally called xylonite.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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 (see cel).


n. 1 Any of a variety of thermoplastics created from nitrocellulose and camphor, once used as photographic film. 2 (context figuratively often used attributively English) The genre of cinema; film.

  1. adj. artificial as if portrayed in a film; "a novel with flat celluloid characters" [syn: synthetic]

  2. n. highly flammable substance made from cellulose nitrate and camphor; used in e.g. motion-picture and X-ray film; its use has decreased with the development of nonflammable thermoplastics

  3. a medium that disseminates moving pictures; "theater pieces transferred to celluloid"; "this story would be good cinema"; "film coverage of sporting events" [syn: film, cinema]


Celluloids are a class of compounds created from nitrocellulose and camphor, with added dyes and other agents. Generally considered the first thermoplastic, it was first created as Parkesine in 1856 and as Xylonite in 1869, before being registered as Celluloid in 1870. Celluloid is easily molded and shaped, and it was first widely used as an ivory replacement.

The main use was in movie and photography film industries, which used only celluloid films prior to acetate films that were introduced in the 1950s. Celluloid is highly flammable, difficult and expensive to produce and no longer widely used, although its most common uses today are in table tennis balls, musical instruments and guitar picks.

Celluloid (film)

Celluloid is a 2013 Malayalam docudrama film co produced, written and directed by Kamal, starring Prithviraj, Sreenivasan, Mamta Mohandas and Chandni in the lead roles. The film is a biopic based on the life story of J.C. Daniel, the father of Malayalam cinema, the making of his film Vigathakumaran and the story of Vigathakumaran's heroine P. K. Rosie. The film is particularly based on Life of J. C. Daniel, a biography of J. C. Daniel written by Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan. Filming started in November 2012.The film's online posters was done by a 16-year-old boy Aswin which was viral in social medias. and it was released on February 2013. The film opened with positive reviews and received seven Kerala State Film Awards including for Best Film and Best Actor (Prithviraj). The movie received a lot of awards and appreciations with the support of All Lights Film Services (ALFS), a leading film festival consultancy.The film became a hit at the Box Office.

Usage examples of "celluloid".

And Danilo Kis provides precise, poetic description that verges on the exhaustive, lending his novels a Proustian or Nabokovian air, particularly in the items he makes memorable: a book, a flower, a celluloid collar.

Ganelon recognized him as an American by his celluloid collar and the stylographical pencil in his pocket.

Low-budget celluloid horror films created ambiguity and possible elision by putting ?

With heavy hand he crushes a celluloid rattle and expresses doubts that Walli stems from the stem of Walter.

Squeezed into dinner jackets, with celluloid cunts in tow: crispy, crunchy, cute.

For more formal wear he laid out on the bed a pin-striped, blue-black, double-breasted suit, suspenders, wide floral necktie and white shirt with celluloid collar.

It came over me then what an awful thing it must be to be so far from home and knowing nobody, and having to wear trousers and celluloid collars instead of robes and turbans, and eat potatoes and fried things instead of olives and figs and dates, and to be in danger of being taken back and made into a Mohammedan and having to keep a harem.

On the top step, huddled and shivering, with streams of water running off his hair down over his celluloid collar, pouring out of his sleeves and cascading down the stairs from his trousers legs, was Tufik.

Seated on the doorstep, celluloid collar shining, the brown pasteboard suitcase at his feet, was Tufik.

He stretched his five feet four inches, patted his bow tie, and pulled down his celluloid cuffs.

On those first celluloid Christmases I look as overdressed as the Infanta.

In syrupy light Luce was feeding the celluloid through the sprocket wheel.

He wore a celluloid collar so high that it took him just under the ears and made him look like he was always stretching his neck.

All he asks is that men shall live more simply, nearer to the earth, with more sense of the magic of things like vegetation, fire, water, sex, blood, than they can in a world of celluloid and concrete where the gramophones never stop playing.

July in the White House, where Nixon and a handful of others sat down and gave serious thought to all their possible options with regard to those reels of harmless looking celluloid that had suddenly turned into time bombs.