analog (adjective) is a continuous stream; it's not digital.

analog (noun) is a comparison, two subjects may be analogous.

Do they share etymology? Is there another reason why those concepts use the same word? To my understanding, the meanings are quite different.

| improve this question | | | | |
  • 2
    Yes, they do. An analog device operates by using a property that corresponds to (is analogous to) the phenomena of interest. For example, analog watches (the wind-up type) use the correspondence between the movement of the internal mechanisms and the time it takes for those physical movements to occur. Analog recording might make the depth of a groove correspond to the volume (or pitch) of the recorded sound. – Lawrence Jan 22 '17 at 13:15
  • (I'm placing the above answer in comments because I'm not certain that this is strictly-speaking a question about the English language. However, it is certainly an interesting question.) – Lawrence Jan 22 '17 at 13:20
  • 1
    Lawrence - that is one of the best things I have ever read on the site. I've struggled for years to see the relationship between the two meanings of analog. Cheers for that. – Fattie Jan 22 '17 at 14:35
  • The term "analog", as used in electronics, refers to having voltages/currents which are in proportion to some other metric. While "analog" is used to mean "not digital", that is not what it actually means. (And, of course, "digital" doesn't mean what you think it means either.) – Hot Licks Jan 22 '17 at 14:58
  • Lawrence: If you put it in an answer, I'll accept it. If it ends up being considered off topic, thanks anyway! – Teodor Jan 23 '17 at 9:30

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.