noun Electricity.

a calibrated instrument for measuring the potential difference between two points.

Origin of voltmeter

First recorded in 1880–85; volt1 + -meter
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for voltmeter

Historical Examples of voltmeter

  • The voltmeter cost $7, and the ammeter $10; and the switches and fuses could be had for $5.

    Electricity for the farm

    Frederick Irving Anderson

  • In fact, a voltmeter is an ammeter which has had its shunt removed or disconnected.


    Willis Eugene Tower

  • Hence a voltmeter must be placed across a circuit and not in it.


    Willis Eugene Tower

  • What would happen if a voltmeter were put in series in a line?


    Willis Eugene Tower

  • This reading is taken from the voltmeter supplied with the plant.

British Dictionary definitions for voltmeter



an instrument for measuring potential difference or electromotive force
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 voltmeter

1882, from volt + meter (n.3).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

voltmeter in Science



An instrument used for measuring the difference in voltage between two points in an electric circuit. Voltmeters typically make use of an ammeter that measures current flow across a known resistance inside the voltmeter; direct-current voltages can then be determined by Ohm's law. Digital voltmeters employ A/D converters to provide the numerical value of the voltage displayed. Compare ohmmeter.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.