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[sahyz-muh-graf, -grahf, sahys-] /ˈsaɪz məˌgræf, -ˌgrɑf, ˈsaɪs-/
any of various instruments for measuring and recording the vibrations of earthquakes.
Origin of seismograph
First recorded in 1855-60; seismo- + -graph
Related forms
[sahyz-muh-graf-ik, sahys-] /ˌsaɪz məˈgræf ɪk, ˌsaɪs-/ (Show IPA),
seismographical, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for seismograph
Historical Examples
  • The seismograph, as you know, was devised to register earthquakes at a distance.

    The Silent Bullet Arthur B. Reeve
  • Really it is doing in a different and often better way what the seismograph does.

    The Social Gangster Arthur B. Reeve
  • In order to get a record of the successive shocks another form of apparatus must be employed, a form known as a seismograph.

  • But even at noon the disturbance had not subsided, as slight shocks are recorded at frequent intervals on the seismograph.

  • The seismograph of to-day, however, has reached a stage of perfection where close approximations are obtained in the records made.

  • In recent years much information has been obtained by the investigation of earthquakes by various kinds of seismograph.

  • Hence the tiny fluctuations of Hilary Vane's seismograph an instrument, as will be shown, utterly out-of-date.

    Mr. Crewe's Career, Complete Winston Churchill
  • Cheyney was bent over a seismograph, echo-sounding for the egg through the river bottom.

    One-Shot James Benjamin Blish
  • He was curious to see the result as recorded on the seismograph, and to know at what hour it registered in Japan.

    Ancestors Gertrude Atherton
  • The following brief account of his seismograph will, therefore, form a not unsuitable complement to his Memoir.

British Dictionary definitions for seismograph


/ˈsaɪzməˌɡrɑːf; -ˌɡræf/
an instrument that registers and records the features of earthquakes. A seismogram (ˈsaɪzməˌɡræm) is the record from such an instrument Also called seismometer
Derived Forms
seismographic (ˌsaɪzməˈɡræfɪk) adjective
seismographer (saɪzˈmɒɡrəfə) noun
seismography, noun
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 seismograph

"instrument for measuring the motions of an earthquake," 1858, from seismo- + -graph. Based on Italian sismografo, coined and invented by Luigi Palmieri (1807-1896), director of meteorological observation on Mount Vesuvius. Related: Seismographic; seismography (1865).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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seismograph in Science
An instrument that detects and records vibrations and movements in the Earth, especially during an earthquake. Most seismographs employ a pendulum mounted within a rigid framework and connected to a mechanical, optical, or electromagnetic recording device. When the Earth vibrates or shakes, inertia keeps the pendulum steady with respect to the movements of the frame, producing a graphic record of the duration and intensity of the Earth's movements. Separate instruments are needed to record the north-south horizontal, east-west horizontal, and vertical components of a tremor. By comparing the records produced by seismographs located in three or more locations across the Earth, the location and strength of an earthquake can be determined.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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