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English Wikipedia has an article on:
English Wikipedia has an article on:
chart recorder often used with a polygraph (1)
Thomas Jefferson's polygraph copying device (2)


poly- +‎ -graph (This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


  • IPA(key): /ˈpɒliɡɹæf/, /ˈpɒliɡɹɑːf/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æf, -ɑːf


polygraph (plural polygraphs)

  1. A device which measures and records several physiological variables such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiration and skin conductivity while a series of questions is being asked to a subject, in an attempt to detect lies.
    Synonym: lie detector
  2. (dated) A mechanical instrument for multiplying copies of a writing, resembling multiple pantographs.
    Synonyms: manifold writer, autopen
  3. (archaic) A collection of different works, either by one or several authors.
  4. (linguistics) A group of letters that represent a single phoneme.
  5. Any group of letters treated as a single item.
    • 2002, Robert Churchhouse, Codes and Ciphers: Julius Caesar, the Enigma, and the Internet (page 3)
      A polygraph consists of an unspecified number of adjacent letters. A polygraph need not be recognisable as a word in a language but if we are attempting to decipher a message which is expected to be in English and we find the heptagraph MEETING it is much more promising than if we find a heptagraph such as DKRPIGX.
  6. An author who writes on many subjects.
  7. (mathematics) A multidimensional directed graph; a computad.



polygraph (third-person singular simple present polygraphs, present participle polygraphing, simple past and past participle polygraphed)

  1. (transitive) To administer a polygraph test to.
    The FBI polygraphed the suspect but learned nothing because they already knew he was lying.

See also[edit]