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[steth-uh-skohp] /ˈstɛθ əˌskoʊp/
noun, Medicine/Medical
an instrument used in auscultation to convey sounds in the chest or other parts of the body to the ear of the examiner.
1810-20; stetho- + -scope
Related forms
stethoscoped, adjective
[ste-thos-kuh-pist] /stɛˈθɒs kə pɪst/ (Show IPA),
[ste-thos-kuh-pee, steth-uh-skoh-] /stɛˈθɒs kə pi, ˈstɛθ əˌskoʊ-/ (Show IPA),
unstethoscoped, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for stethoscope
  • IF any one tool could be declared the symbol of the medical profession, it would surely be the stethoscope.
  • The doctor will use a stethoscope to listen to the lungs.
  • The look clearly isn't happening without a stethoscope.
  • The doctor may hear an abnormal sound called a bruit when placing a stethoscope over the neck arteries.
  • The health care provider will listen to the heart with a stethoscope.
  • Using a stethoscope to listen to the lungs can also be helpful.
  • The health care provider may hear a fast heartbeat while listening to your heart with a stethoscope.
  • Some doctors don't even carry a stethoscope anymore.
  • The health care provider will take your family history and listen to your heart, lungs, and abdomen with a stethoscope.
  • It was a pioneer in treatment of the mentally impaired and the use of such devices as the hypodermic needle and the stethoscope.
British Dictionary definitions for stethoscope


(med) an instrument for listening to the sounds made within the body, typically consisting of a hollow disc that transmits the sound through hollow tubes to earpieces
Also called obstetric stethoscope. a narrow cylinder expanded at both ends to recieve and transmit fetal sounds
Derived Forms
stethoscopic (ˌstɛθəˈskɒpɪk) adjective
stethoscopy (stɛˈθɒskəpɪ) noun
Word Origin
C19: from French, from Greek stēthos breast + -scope
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 stethoscope

1820, from French stéthoscope, coined 1819 by its inventor, French physician René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laënnec (1781-1826) from Greek stethos "chest, breast" + -scope. Greek stethos is perhaps related to sternon (see sternum); it meant "front of the chest," and was only rarely used of a woman's breasts, but in Modern Greek it became the preferred polite term.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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stethoscope in Medicine

stethoscope steth·o·scope (stěth'ə-skōp')
Any of various instruments used for listening to sounds produced within the body.

steth'o·scop'ic (-skŏp'ĭk) or steth'o·scop'i·cal (-ĭ-kəl) adj.
steth'o·scop'i·cal·ly adv.
ste·thos'co·py (stě-thŏs'kə-pē) n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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stethoscope in Culture
stethoscope [(steth-uh-skohp)]

An instrument used in listening to internal body sounds. Most familiarly, physicians and nurses use it to listen to heart sounds.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for stethoscope

medical instrument used in listening to sounds produced within the body, chiefly in the heart or lungs. It was invented by the French physician R.T.H. Laennec, who in 1819 described the use of a perforated wooden cylinder to transmit sounds from the patient's chest (Greek: stethos) to the physician's ear. This monaural stethoscope was modified to more convenient forms, but it has been largely supplanted by the binaural type with two flexible rubber tubes attaching the chest piece to spring-connected metal tubes with earpieces. In listening to heart sounds, in particular, it is necessary to use both a bell-shaped, open-ended chest piece, which transmits low-pitched sounds well, and the flat chest piece covered with a semirigid disk (diaphragm type) that detects sounds of higher frequency. Instruments having both types of chest piece, arranged so that they can be rapidly interchanged by turning a valve, are widely used.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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