from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An instrument that converts sound waves into an electric current, usually fed into an amplifier, a recorder, or a broadcast transmitter.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An instrument for augmenting Small sounds.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Physics) An instrument for converting sounds into electrical signals, for the purpose of recording or amplifying the sounds. It produces its effects in various ways, as for example by the changes of intensity in an electric current, occasioned by the variations in the contact resistance of conducting bodies, especially of imperfect conductors, under the action of acoustic vibrations. Other forms of microphone may use changes in capacitance or other phenomena to transduce the sounds into electrical signals.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A device (transducer) used to convert sound waves into a varying electric current; normally fed into an amplifier and either recorded or broadcast.
  • verb transitive To put one or more microphones on or in.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun device for converting sound waves into electrical energy


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • "An instrument for augmenting Small sounds. The instrument invented for this purpose by Mr. Hughes in 1878 is based on the fact that when substances possessing little electrical conductivity are, placed in the course of an electric current, the conductivity of the system is much increased by even the very smallest amount of pressure. The instrument has various forms, but in most of them one piece of charcoal is held loosely between two other pieces in such a manner as to be affected by the slightest vibrations conveyed to it by the air or by any other medium. The two external pieces are placed in connection with a telephone, and when the ear is placed at the ear-piece of the telephone the sounds caused by a fly walking on the wooden support of the microphone appear as loud as the tramp of a horse. By suitable arrangements the sounds of the human voice conveyed from a distance by the telephone can be made, audible in every part of a hall."

    --Cent. Dict.

    August 7, 2012