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[foh-nuh-graf, -grahf]
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  1. any sound-reproducing machine using records in the form of cylinders or discs.
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Origin of phonograph

1825–35 in sense “phonogram”; 1877 for the “talking phonograph” invented by T. A. Edison; phono- + -graph
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for phonograph


  1. an early form of gramophone capable of recording and reproducing sound on wax cylinders
  2. Also called: gramophone, record player US and Canadian a device for reproducing the sounds stored on a record: now usually applied to the nearly obsolete type that uses a clockwork motor and acoustic horn
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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 phonograph


1835, "character representing a sound," literally "writer of sounds," from phono- "sound" + -graph "instrument for recording; something written." Meaning "an instrument that produces sounds from records" (talking phonograph, invented by Thomas A. Edison) it is attested from 1877. The recording made from it at first was called a phonogram (1879).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper