One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A person who uses, studies, or invents a code or cipher. See polygraphy. rare. Now historical.
2An instrument for making multiple copies of a document, etc.; = "polygraph". rare. Now historical.
3A writer of many works; = "polygraph".
4A person who uses a lie detector or polygraph.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in John Harvey (bap. 1564, d. 1592), astrologer. From poly- + -grapher. In sense 1 after post-classical Latin poligraphia; compare earlier steganographer. In senses 2, 3, and 4 ultimately after post-classical Latin polygraphus person who writes on many subjects or its etymon Hellenistic Greek πολυγράϕος (adjective) writing much; with sense 2 compare earlier polygraphy and later polygraph; with sense 3 compare slightly later polygraph.
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