9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pol-i-graf, -grahf] /ˈpɒl ɪˌgræf, -ˌgrɑf/
an instrument for receiving and recording simultaneously tracings of variations in certain body activities.
a test using such an instrument to determine if a person is telling the truth.
an apparatus for producing copies of a drawing or writing.
a prolific or versatile author.
verb (used with object)
to test (a person) with a polygraph.
Origin of polygraph
1795-1805 for def 1; 1920-25 for def 3; < Greek polýgraphos writing much. See poly-, -graph
Related forms
[pol-i-graf-ik] /ˌpɒl ɪˈgræf ɪk/ (Show IPA),
[puh-lig-ruh-fist] /pəˈlɪg rə fɪst/ (Show IPA),
polygrapher, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for polygraph
  • He revealed that half the officers in a key unit failed a polygraph test last year.
  • The courts have long ruled polygraph findings inadmissible as evidence.
  • He displayed strikingly little emotion about his family during questioning, but did agree to take a polygraph.
  • If you're not willing to cooperate with a polygraph, there's really nothing they can do.
  • Fibbing causes the heart to pound, breathing to accelerate and sweating to increase, and the polygraph measures all those things.
  • Cook has never given a statement to police, and he has not taken a polygraph.
  • Learn how to get licensed with a polygraph machine.
  • The polygraph unit has two examiners, along with a supervising examiner.
  • There are three divisions of criminal investigators, a polygraph unit, a computer crimes unit and intelligence unit.
British Dictionary definitions for polygraph


/ˈpɒlɪˌɡrɑːf; -ˌɡræf/
an instrument for the simultaneous electrical or mechanical recording of several involuntary physiological activities, including blood pressure, skin resistivity, pulse rate, respiration, and sweating, used esp as a would-be lie detector
a device for producing copies of written, printed, or drawn matter
Derived Forms
polygraphic (ˌpɒlɪˈɡræfɪk) adjective
polygraphically, adverb
Word Origin
C18: from Greek polugraphos writing copiously
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 polygraph

1794, "mechanical device for making multiple copies of something written or drawn," from Greek polygraphos "writing much," from polys "much" (see poly-) + graphos "writing," from graphein "to write" (see -graphy).

Meaning "instrument for recording several pulsations of the body at the same time" is 1871; first used as a lie detector 1921. Related: Polygraphy (1590s); polygraphic (1771).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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polygraph in Medicine

polygraph pol·y·graph (pŏl'ē-grāf')
An instrument that simultaneously records changes in physiological processes such as heartbeat, blood pressure, and respiration.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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