an instrument for detecting the existence of small electric currents and determining their strength.

Origin of galvanometer

First recorded in 1795–1805; galvano- + -meter Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for galvanometer

Historical Examples of galvanometer

  • To indicate the effect, he included a galvanometer in the circuit of the battery and the button.

  • An instrument which reveals this condition is called a galvanometer.

  • A galvanometer (D) or other current-testing means is placed in this circuit.

  • The galvanometer before which Devin was seated apparently agreed.

    The Ultimate Weapon

    John Wood Campbell

  • We can determine the relative strengths of two currents by the use of a galvanometer.


    Willis Eugene Tower

British Dictionary definitions for galvanometer



any sensitive instrument for detecting or measuring small electric currents
Derived Formsgalvanometric (ˌɡælvənəʊˈmɛtrɪk, ɡælˌvænə-) or galvanometrical, adjectivegalvanometrically, adverbgalvanometry, 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

Word Origin and History for galvanometer

1802, from comb. form of galvanism + -meter.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for galvanometer



An instrument that detects small electric currents and indicates their direction and relative strength. Current flowing through the galvanometer passes through a coil near a magnetized needle on a pivot; the strength of the current in the coil regulates the strength of a magnetic field that displaces the needle. Galvanometers can be used directly as ammeters, and are the core element of many ohmmeters and voltmeters.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.