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[mahy-kruh-fohn] /ˈmaɪ krəˌfoʊn/
an instrument capable of transforming sound waves into changes in electric currents or voltage, used in recording or transmitting sound.
1875-80; micro-, in sense “enlarging” (extracted from microscope) + -phone Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for microphone
  • When the headset is muted, the microphone glows red.
  • The closer to the ear the microphone is located, the simpler the process becomes.
  • Visitors test out a hydrophone, or underwater microphone.
  • At one booth, there is a microphone that eliminates background noise.
  • But he needed to repair a microphone he had fitted to the top of the chimney along with a video camera.
  • The gent with the camel's hair blazer, snappy scarf and thinning silver hair walked gingerly to the microphone.
  • Consider using a smartphone or other handheld device with a microphone to do the recording.
  • The bats' echolocation calls were recorded with a sophisticated microphone array.
  • High-speed infrared cameras and an ultrasonic microphone recorded the action over nine consecutive nights.
  • Don't bump into any microphone stands if you're in a recording studio.
British Dictionary definitions for microphone


a device used in sound-reproduction systems for converting sound into electrical energy, usually by means of a ribbon or diaphragm set into motion by the sound waves. The vibrations are converted into the equivalent audio-frequency electric currents Informal name mike See also carbon microphone Compare loudspeaker
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for microphone

1680s, "ear trumpet for the hard-of-hearing," coined from Greek mikros "small" (see mica) + phone "sound" (see fame (n.)). Modern meaning dates from 1929, from use in radio broadcasting and movie recording. Earlier, "amplifying telephone transmitter" (1878). Of the two spellings of the short form of the word, mike (1927) is older than mic (1961).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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microphone in Technology

hardware, audio
Any electromechanical device designed to convert sound into an electrical signal.
A microphone converts an acoustic waveform consisting of alternating high and low air pressure travelling through the air into a voltage. To do this it uses some kind of pressure or movement sensor. The simplest kind of microphone is actually very similar in construction to a loudspeaker.
The analogue electrical signal can be fed into a computer's sound card where it is amplified and sampled to convert it into a digital waveform for storage or transmission.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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