1751, "decorative design," originally a design in the form of vine tendrils around the borders of a book page, especially a picture page, from French vignette, from Old French diminutive of vigne "vineyard" (see vine). Sense transferred from the border to the picture itself, then (1853) to a type of small photographic portrait with blurred edges very popular mid-19c. Meaning "literary sketch" is first recorded 1880, probably from the photographic sense.
"the art of making portraits; a painting, picture, or drawing," late 14c., from Old French portraiture "portrait, image, portrayal, resemblance" (12c.), from portrait (see portrait).
c. 1200, "a calm," from still (adj.). Sense of "quietness, the silent part" is from c. 1600 (in still of the night). Meaning "a photograph" (as distinguished from a motion picture) is attested from 1916.
1888 as the name of a theater in Boston; by 1909 as "a motion picture theater," from nickel "five-cent coin" (the cost to view one) + -odeon, as in Melodeon (1840) "music hall," ultimately from Greek oideion "building for musical performances" (see odeon). Meaning "nickel jukebox" is first attested 1938.
The nickelodeon is the poor man's theater. An entire family can obtain from it a whole evening's amusement for what it formerly cost to get one poor seat at an inferior production. ["The Moving-Picture Show" in Munsey's Magazine, 1909]
"a picture obtained by any process of photography," 1839, coined by English polymath and photography pioneer Sir John Herschel (son of the astronomer) from photo- "light" + -graph "something written."
It won out over other suggestions, such as photogene and heliograph. Photogram (1859), based on telegram, did not catch on. Neo-Anglo-Saxonists prefer sunprint; and sun-picture (1846) was an early Englishing of the word. The verb is first found (along with photography and photographic) in a paper Herschel read before the Royal Society on March 14, 1839. Related: Photographed; photographing.
1620s (implied in splicing), first recorded in writing of Capt. John Smith, from splice (v.). Motion picture film sense is from 1923. In colloquial use, "marriage union, wedding" (1830).
1912 (perhaps 1908), shortened form of moving picture in the cinematographic sense (1896). As an adjective from 1913. Movie star attested from 1913. Another early name for it was photoplay.