os·​cil·​lo·​scope | \ ä-ˈsi-lə-ˌskōp How to pronounce oscilloscope (audio) , ə- \

Definition of oscilloscope

: an instrument in which the variations in a fluctuating electrical quantity appear temporarily as a visible wave form on a display screen

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Other Words from oscilloscope

oscilloscopic \ ä-​ˌsi-​lə-​ˈskä-​pik How to pronounce oscilloscope (audio) , ˌä-​sə-​lə-​ \ adjective

Did You Know?

In Latin oscillare means "to swing", and our word oscillation usually means "vibration" or "variation", especially in a changing flow of electricity. The oscilloscope basically draws a graph of an electrical signal. Since all kinds of physical phenomena can be converted into an electric voltage, oscilloscopes can be used to measure such things as sound, light, and heat. So an oscilloscope can analyze how one clarinet's sound is different from another's, or how one bulb's light differs from another's. Auto mechanics use oscilloscopes to measure engine vibrations; doctors use them to measure brain waves. Audio technicians use oscilloscopes to diagnose problems in audio equipment; TV and radio technicians use them to diagnose TV and radio problems. But oscilloscopes are most essential today to high-tech electronics experimentation.

Examples of oscilloscope in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Using an oscilloscope, the attacker monitors the energy consumption of the device. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Intel SGX defeated yet again—this time thanks to on-chip power meter," 10 Nov. 2020 Ekanayake spent the remainder of the afternoon going back and forth from his lab to the parking garage—carrying his multimeter, his soldering station, his oscilloscope and numerous bags of cables, wires and circuit boards. Dieynaba Young, Smithsonian Magazine, "Five Scientific Achievements That Happened During Coronavirus Lockdown," 15 July 2020 In 1943 Bell Labs discovered that a teletype machine would cause a nearby oscilloscope's readings to move every time someone typed on it. Andy Greenberg, Wired, "Hacker Lexicon: What Is a Side Channel Attack?," 21 June 2020 Godfather to Oregon’s technology industry, Tektronix makes oscilloscopes that engineers use to measure the performance of electronic devices. Mike Rogoway, oregonlive, "Tektronix lays off employees as sales decline," 7 Nov. 2019 Tektronix makes oscilloscopes and similar instruments that engineers use to test and evaluate electronic devices. Mike Rogoway, oregonlive, "Tektronix buyouts trim nearly 200 jobs as sales slump, parent company breaks up," 4 Sep. 2019 The pocket oscilloscope, the Raspberry Pi radio, the voice changer, the mini voltmeter, and an LED glove. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Making things is now a global movement. But is the U.S. making enough?," 27 Aug. 2018 Batting a ball back and forth is one of the oldest concepts in video games, dating back to the days of William Higinbotham’s Tennis for Two oscilloscope experiments in the ‘50s. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Mario Tennis Aces review: Turning tennis into a fighting game," 22 June 2018 Of course, the game has appeared on other oscilloscope models. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Way to Play 'Duck Hunt' Is On an Oscilloscope," 9 Oct. 2015

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oscilloscope.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of oscilloscope

1906, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for oscilloscope

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Time Traveler for oscilloscope

Time Traveler

The first known use of oscilloscope was in 1906

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Cite this Entry

“Oscilloscope.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oscilloscope. Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for oscilloscope


os·​cil·​lo·​scope | \ ä-ˈsil-ə-ˌskōp, ə- How to pronounce oscilloscope (audio) \

Medical Definition of oscilloscope

: an instrument in which the variations in a fluctuating electrical quantity appear temporarily as a visible waveform on the fluorescent screen of a cathode-ray tube

called also cathode-ray oscilloscope

Other Words from oscilloscope

oscilloscopic \ ä-​ˌsil-​ə-​ˈskäp-​ik How to pronounce oscilloscope (audio) , ˌäs-​ə-​lə-​ How to pronounce oscilloscope (audio) \ adjective
oscilloscopically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce oscilloscope (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on oscilloscope

Nglish: Translation of oscilloscope for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oscilloscope

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