A radiograph (or plain radiograph although the word 'plain' is strictly superfluous) is the radiologist's preferred term for the static image generated following the passage of x-rays through the patient. Non-imaging clinicians and the lay population generally use the term "x-ray" to refer to a radiograph, as well as for the radiation itself; e.g. a chest radiograph is often referred to as a chest x-ray.
Radiograph is not used to describe dynamic images, which are usually referred to as fluoroscopic images.
Soon after the discovery of x-rays many terms were suggested and used for the radiograph, some of which were later discarded. These include:
- film (e.g. "chest film")
- plain film
- plain x-ray
- x-ray film
- x-ray image
- x-ray photograph
Radiograph is also used as a transitive verb, i.e. to take a radiograph of someone or something (as is x-ray).
History and etymology
Radiograph was first recorded in print as a word in 1896 4.
Radiograph derives from Classical roots: "radio-" used as a prefix, is from the Latin word "radius", meaning a ray, and "-graphy" meaning writing or recording something, from the Ancient Greek, graphein (γραφειν) meaning to write 1-3.
- 1. William Alexander Newman Dorland. Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. (2018) ISBN: 9781416023647
- 2. Wiktionary. "Radio-". https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/radio-#English. Wiktionary.org [accessed 23rd July 2018].
- 3. John C. Traupman. The Bantam New College Latin & English Dictionary. (2018) ISBN: 9780553590128