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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.
Origin of stethoscope
First recorded in 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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for stethoscope
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So she sat up, dislodging the stethoscope, and ignoring the purpose of the thermometer which had reposed under her tongue.

    Roast Beef, Medium Edna Ferber
  • Then, taking out his stethoscope, he made a rapid examination of his patient.

    Once a Week Alan Alexander Milne
  • Chief Pasteur walked over to where Mellon lay and took his stethoscope out of his little black bag.

    Unwise Child Gordon Randall Garrett
  • He then, with a stethoscope, ausculated the lungs, or listened to the respiratory sounds.

    Doctor Jones' Picnic S. E. Chapman
  • While Gramps mouthed the thermometer, Dr. Beardsley applied a stethoscope to his chest, then to his back.

    The Black Fawn James Arthur Kjelgaard
  • "Hum—er," he hesitated, and applied his stethoscope to Masters' heart again.

    Uncanny Tales Various
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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