Definition of oscillograph and oscilloscope

The terms "oscillograph" or "oscillograph" are often referred to as synonym for oscilloscope, but they have a different meaning. The word part "osci" means vibration, derived from the Latin "oscillare". The ending "graph" comes from the Greek word "gráphein", which means to write / draw. So an oscillograph is a device that records an oscillation. The ending "cope" corresponds to the Greek word "skopeĩn", which means looking at / looking to. An oscilloscope "looks" only at the oscillation.

Analog oscillograph by Tektronix.

Analog oscillograph.

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So both words mean:

  • Oscilloscope: A device for viewing the waveform.
  • Oscillograph: A device for recording the waveform.

Analog oscillographs are more complex than analog oscilloscopes. The waveform must be photographed or saved in an analog fashion. In contrast, an analog oscilloscope only displays the signal. With the arrival of digital oscilloscopes, the problems of waveform recording disappeared anyway. Digital Oscilloscopes store the signal form in memory. Most devices also allow export of data to external devices, networks or to GPIB interfaces. Today, the term oscillograph disappeared and is usually described as storage oscilloscope .