[hee-lee-uh-graf, -grahf]


a device for signaling by means of a movable mirror that reflects beams of light, especially sunlight, to a distance.
Astronomy. photoheliograph.
Meteorology. an instrument for recording the duration and intensity of sunshine.
Photography, Printing. an early type of photoengraving made on a metal plate coated with sensitized asphalt.

verb (used with or without object)

to communicate by heliograph.

Origin of heliograph

First recorded in 1815–25; helio- + -graph
Related formshe·li·og·ra·pher [hee-lee-og-ruh-fer] /ˌhi liˈɒg rə fər/, nounhe·li·o·graph·ic [hee-lee-uh-graf-ik] /ˌhi li əˈgræf ɪk/, he·li·o·graph·i·cal, adjectivehe·li·o·graph·i·cal·ly, adverbhe·li·og·ra·phy, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for heliographic

Historical Examples of heliographic

  • On the 17th, heliographic communication was opened with General Ellis.

  • Scanning the horizon line, he hurried impatiently toward the heliographic ridge.

  • Mr. Maunder is charged with the heliographic photography and reductions, and with the preparation of the Library Catalogue.

    The Royal Observatory Greenwich

    E. Walter (Edwared Walter) Maunder

  • The day following I received a heliographic message from these burghers, who were now on the other side of the line.

    Three Years' War

    Christiaan Rudolf de Wet

  • In one division a regular pioneer squadron has been formed for telegraphic and heliographic duty.

British Dictionary definitions for heliographic



an instrument with mirrors and a shutter used for sending messages in Morse code by reflecting the sun's rays
a device used to photograph the sun
Derived Formsheliographer (ˌhiːlɪˈɒɡrəfə), nounheliographic (ˌhiːlɪəʊˈɡræfɪk) or heliographical, adjectiveheliography, 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 heliographic



product of a certain type of engraving process, 1853, from helio- + -graph "something written." Earlier, "a description of the sun" (1706, implied in heliographic). Heliography (1845 in the engraving sense) also (1840) was an early term for what came to be called photography.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper