[ spek-truh-skohp ]

  1. 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.

Origin of spectroscope

First recorded in 1860–65; spectro- + -scope

Other words from spectroscope

  • spec·tro·scop·ic [spek-truh-skop-ik], /ˌspɛk trəˈskɒp ɪk/, spec·tro·scop·i·cal, adjective
  • spec·tro·scop·i·cal·ly, adverb

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use spectroscope in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for spectroscope


/ (ˈspɛktrəˌskəʊp) /

  1. any of a number of instruments for dispersing electromagnetic radiation and thus forming or recording a spectrum: See also spectrometer

Origin of spectroscope

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

Derived forms of spectroscope

  • spectroscopic (ˌspɛktrəˈskɒpɪk) or spectroscopical, adjective
  • spectroscopically, adverb

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

Scientific definitions for spectroscope


[ spĕktrə-skōp′ ]

  1. 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.