Word Origin & History
1708, "vaulted building," from L. camera "vaulted room" (cf. It. camera, Sp. camara, Fr. chambre), from Gk. kamara "vaulted chamber," from PIE base *kam- "to arch." The word also was used early 18c. as a short form of Mod.L. camera obscura "dark chamber" (a black box with a lens that could project images
of external objects), contrasted with camera lucida (Latin for "light chamber"), which uses prisms to produce an image on paper beneath the instrument, which can be traced. It became the word for "picture-taking device" when modern photography began, c.1840 (extended to television filming devices 1928). Camera-shy is from 1922. O.C.S. komora, Lith. kamara, O.Ir. camra all are borrowings from Latin.