[ pol-i-graf, -grahf ]
/ ˈpɒl ɪˌgræf, -ˌgrɑf /


an instrument for receiving and recording simultaneously tracings of variations in certain body activities.
a test using such an instrument to determine if a person is telling the truth.
an apparatus for producing copies of a drawing or writing.
a prolific or versatile author.

verb (used with object)

to test (a person) with a polygraph.

Origin of polygraph

1795–1805 for def 1; 1920–25 for def 3; < Greek polýgraphos writing much. See poly-, -graph


pol·y·graph·ic [pol-i-graf-ik] /ˌpɒl ɪˈgræf ɪk/, adjectivepo·lyg·ra·phist [puh-lig-ruh-fist] /pəˈlɪg rə fɪst/, po·lyg·ra·pher, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for polygraph

British Dictionary definitions for polygraph

/ (ˈpɒlɪˌɡrɑːf, -ˌɡræf) /


an instrument for the simultaneous electrical or mechanical recording of several involuntary physiological activities, including blood pressure, skin resistivity, pulse rate, respiration, and sweating, used esp as a would-be lie detector
a device for producing copies of written, printed, or drawn matter

Derived forms of polygraph

polygraphic (ˌpɒlɪˈɡræfɪk), adjectivepolygraphically, adverb

Word Origin for polygraph

C18: from Greek polugraphos writing copiously
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

Medicine definitions for polygraph

[ pŏlē-grăf′ ]


An instrument that simultaneously records changes in physiological processes such as heartbeat, blood pressure, and respiration.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.