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[uh-sil-uh-skohp] /əˈsɪl əˌskoʊp/
noun, Electricity
a device that uses a cathode-ray tube or similar instrument to depict on a screen periodic changes in an electric quantity, as voltage or current.
1905-10; oscill(ate) + -o- + -scope
Related forms
[uh-sil-uh-skop-ik] /əˌsɪl əˈskɒp ɪk/ (Show IPA),
oscilloscopically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for oscilloscope
  • It had a big cart with an oscilloscope that the patient had to move around.
  • One of the two privates on duty looks at the radar oscilloscope and can't believe his eyes.
  • As he sat in the gloomy lab, watching neural signals dance in green light across an oscilloscope, he noticed something strange.
  • The results were displayed as a wave on the oscilloscope.
  • If they want to see the pattern, an oscilloscope works well.
  • Use a magnet to steer the electron beam in an oscilloscope.
  • We normally measure the power of each beam with a photodiode that is read out by a high-speed oscilloscope.
  • The time interval measurements can be made with an oscilloscope or a time interval counter.
  • oscilloscope traces of the output waveforms with all critical faults that would affect the output characteristics.
British Dictionary definitions for oscilloscope


an instrument for producing a representation of a quantity that rapidly changes with time on the screen of a cathode-ray tube. The changes are converted into electric signals, which are applied to plates in the cathode-ray tube. Changes in the magnitude of the potential across the plates deflect the electron beam and thus produce a trace on the screen
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 oscilloscope

"instrument for visually recording an electrical wave," 1915, a hybrid formed from Latin oscillare "to swing" (see oscillation) + -scope.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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oscilloscope in Medicine

oscilloscope os·cil·lo·scope (ə-sĭl'ə-skōp')
An electronic instrument that produces an instantaneous trace on the screen that corresponds to oscillations of voltage and current.

os·cil'lo·scop'ic (-skŏp'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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oscilloscope in Science
An electronic instrument used to observe and measure changing electrical signals. The amplitude of the signal as it varies with time is displayed graphically on a screen as a line stretching from left to right, with displacements up and down indicating the amplitude of the signal. Oscilloscopes are used to diagnose problems in electronic signal-processing devises, such as computers or stereos, and to monitor electrical activity in the body, such as that of heartbeats.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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