Definition of pantograph in English:



  • 1An instrument for copying a drawing or plan on a different scale by a system of hinged and jointed rods.

    • ‘Shortly before dusk, he arrived at the Maryland State House clutching two homemade drawing instruments, a simplified camera obscura and a modified pantograph.’
    • ‘The pantograph was a movable parallelogram that could be mounted on a drawing board or stationed atop a table, as in the frontispiece to Scheiner's Pantographice.’
    • ‘Wallace also invented the pantograph, an instrument for duplicating a geometric shape at a reduced or enlarged scale.’
    • ‘During this same period, the invention of the pantograph made it possible to create large and sometimes elaborate display letters.’
  • 2A jointed framework conveying a current to a train, streetcar, or other electric vehicle from overhead wires.

    • ‘The electric part is that it uses a pantograph or roof mounted current collector to pick up electricity from the overhead catenary or wires.’
    • ‘Currently in the open air, and unprotected from the tropical atmosphere, are four abandoned diesel electric locomotives, an oil tanker wagon, a steam crane and a General Electric pantograph power unit from 1924.’
    • ‘The pantograph feeds the electricity from the overhead supply to the train.’
    • ‘I was fairly late to work as the train fell apart this morning - the pantographs on the top fell down.’
    • ‘It will have a roof-mounted pantograph for use between Gare Centrale and wherever the terminus in Samoa will be.’


Early 18th century: from panto- all, universal + Greek -graphos writing.