• synonyms


[ spek-truh-skohp ]
/ ˈspɛk trəˌskoʊp /

noun Optics.

an optical device for producing and observing a spectrum of light or radiation from any source, consisting essentially of a slit through which the radiation passes, a collimating lens, and an Amici prism.

Nearby words

spectrophotometer, spectrophotometric analysis, spectropolarimeter, spectropolariscope, spectroradiometer, spectroscope, spectroscopic, spectroscopic analysis, spectroscopic binary, spectroscopist, spectroscopy

Origin of spectroscope

First recorded in 1860–65; spectro- + -scope
Related formsspec·tro·scop·ic [spek-truh-skop-ik] /ˌspɛk trəˈskɒp ɪk/, spec·tro·scop·i·cal, adjectivespec·tro·scop·i·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spectroscope

British Dictionary definitions for spectroscope


/ (ˈspɛktrəˌskəʊp) /


any of a number of instruments for dispersing electromagnetic radiation and thus forming or recording a spectrumSee also spectrometer
Derived Formsspectroscopic (ˌspɛktrəˈskɒpɪk) or spectroscopical, adjectivespectroscopically, adverb

Word Origin for spectroscope

C19: from spectro- + -scope; from French, or on the model of German Spektroskop
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 spectroscope



1861, from spectro- + -scope. A Greek-Latin hybrid, both elements from the same PIE root. Related: Spectroscopic; spectroscopy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for spectroscope


[ spĕktrə-skōp′ ]


An instrument for producing and observing spectra.
Related formsspec′tro•scopic (-skŏpĭk) null adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for spectroscope


[ spĕktrə-skōp′ ]

Any of various instruments used to analyze the component parts of a sample by separating its parts into a spectrum.♦ In a light spectroscope, light is focused into a thin beam of parallel rays by a lens, and then passed through a prism or diffraction grating that separates the light into a frequency spectrum. The intensity of light at different frequencies in the spectrum can be analyzed to determine certain properties of the source of the light, such as its chemical composition or how quickly it is moving.♦ In a mass spectroscope, sample ions are beamed through an electric or magnetic field that deflects the ions; the amount of deflection depends on the ratio of their mass to their electric charge. The ion beam is thus split into separate bands; the collection of bands is called the mass spectrum of the sample, and can be analyzed to determine the distribution of ions in the sample. Spectroscopes are also called spectrographs.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.