The word "cinema" meaning and use

Hello everybody! I'm not really sure about the Italian word "cinema" meaning and use. In a document I found it translated as "movie/film" or as "cinema" in English. Is anyone clear about the real meaning of this word?

Even if both those word (movie and cinema) match to it, how can we understand when to get it as movie or cinema?

Thank you!

March 18, 2016


I think it is an imported word to the Italian language and I would guess it is used in exactly the same as in British English i.e. A movie theatre or a collective term used for movies as an art form.The word itself was invented by the Lumiere brothers who took the word from the Greek for movement and coined the word cinematographe to describe their invention.

March 18, 2016

Yes, according to my dictionary it is a short form of either cinematografo or cinematografia. It can refer to the place or the art, as you mention, and also to the machine. Cinematografo can have all these three meanings, while cinematografia can only refer to the art. The short form is more commonly used, still according to the dictionary (Garzanti).

For a specific movie, pellicola or film would be used.

March 18, 2016


During the fascist period, we stopped using the word Film (currently used for "movie/s") in favor of the word "pellicola" or "lungometraggio", but after this moment of nationalistic pride, we are using the word "film" again basically all the time.

As for "cinema" we call this way the theater where you go for a movie "vado al cinema stasera con i miei amici" and also the art itself "questo é il grande cinema italiano" (abstract).

March 19, 2016

cinema: abbreviation of the french word cinematographe from the greek words κίνημα (movement)+ γράφω (write) used to describe the invention of Lumieres which projects lighted pictures in a fast pace in order to give the spectators the sense of movement. cinematografos (κινηματογράφος) is also the place where you go to watch a film. cinematografia is the art of cinematographe. Υδρία-Cambridge-Ήλιος dictionary.

March 18, 2016
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