polygraph

noun
poly·​graph | \ ˈpä-lē-ˌgraf How to pronounce polygraph (audio) \

Definition of polygraph

: an instrument for recording variations of several different pulsations (as of physiological variables) simultaneously — compare lie detector

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Other Words from polygraph

polygraphic \ ˌpä-​lē-​ˈgra-​fik How to pronounce polygraphic (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for polygraph

Synonyms

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Did You Know?

With its graph- root, polygraph indicates that it writes out several different results. A polygraph's output consists of a set of squiggly lines on a computer screen, each indicating one function being tested. The functions most commonly measured are blood pressure, breathing rate, pulse, and perspiration, all of which tend to increase when you lie. Polygraphs have been in use since 1924, and have gotten more sensitive over the years, though many experts still believe that they're unreliable and that a prepared liar can fool the machine. They're used not only for law enforcement but perhaps more often by employers--often the police department itself!--who don't want to hire someone who has broken the law in the past but won't admit to it.

Examples of polygraph in a Sentence

They hooked him up to the polygraph and began the test. She was asked to take a polygraph.
Recent Examples on the Web As the bureau's head of security, Love oversaw the polygraph's examinations for new recruits. Jeff Pegues, CBS News, "Former Black special agents say FBI's culture is "not conducive to minorities"," 7 Oct. 2020 Following his retirement, Overton went into private practice as a polygraph examiner and defense consultant. Andrea Cavallier, NBC News, "Family still fighting for justice 16 years after 2004 murder of Courtney Coco," 23 Oct. 2020 Passing a polygraph examination is mandatory for any applicant wanting to join the FBI. Jeff Pegues, CBS News, "Former Black special agents say FBI's culture is "not conducive to minorities"," 7 Oct. 2020 Chris fails a polygraph, and his affair is discovered. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Complete Timeline of the Events in American Murder: The Family Next Door," 5 Oct. 2020 The commission has been discussing recommendations to include polygraph tests, sting operations and financial audits for officers. Justin Fenton, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore police officers largely refused to respond to survey on their views of misconduct, discipline, GTTF commission says," 28 Sep. 2020 At least two other men were given polygraph tests in connection with the crime. Dallas News, "DNA match leads Fort Worth police to arrest man in 1974 murder of 17-year-old girl," 22 Sep. 2020 And then, in late 2009, Chris sat through and passed a six-hour polygraph test, was declared innocent, and set free. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why Black and white Americans see the justice system differently (audio)," 10 Aug. 2020 These candidates will be asked to complete a detailed application, physical agility test conducted by Tri-C, polygraph test, medical exam, background investigations, interviews and psychological profile evaluation. Linda G. Kramer, cleveland, "Civil Service exam for Berea firefighters ends Aug. 31: Community Voices," 6 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'polygraph.' 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 polygraph

1871, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for polygraph

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The first known use of polygraph was in 1871

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Statistics for polygraph

Last Updated

12 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Polygraph.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polygraph. Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for polygraph

polygraph

noun
How to pronounce polygraph (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of polygraph

US : a test that is done with a lie detector to see if someone is telling the truth

polygraph

noun
poly·​graph | \ ˈpäl-i-ˌgraf How to pronounce polygraph (audio) \

Medical Definition of polygraph

: an instrument for simultaneously recording variations of several different pulsations (as of the pulse, blood pressure, and respiration) — see lie detector

Other Words from polygraph

polygraphic \ ˌpäl-​i-​ˈgraf-​ik How to pronounce polygraphic (audio) \ adjective
polygraphically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce polygraphically (audio) \ adverb

polygraph

noun
poly·​graph | \ ˈpä-lē-ˌgraf How to pronounce polygraph (audio) \

Legal Definition of polygraph

: an instrument that records physiological pulsations especially : lie detector

Other Words from polygraph

polygraphic \ ˌpä-​lē-​ˈgra-​fik How to pronounce polygraphic (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on polygraph

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for polygraph

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about polygraph

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