I had difficulty deciding if this should go in stack overflow, electrical engineering or here, English language. Forgive me if it's in the wrong place.

I am looking for a word that describes the action (process?) of converting data from time domain to frequency domain.

A term we sometimes use at work (incorrectly) is "decimation" which actually refers to the reduction of the sampling rate of data. It's important to note here that I am referring to only going from time to frequency domain.

Am I overthinking this? Is the answer simply "converting"?

  • 4
    I believe the standard term is transform - as in Fourier transform. Commented Oct 2, 2018 at 0:41
  • @michael.hor257k That sounds correct, but maybe missing some detail. It's not immediately clear what one would mean by just "transform" without a good deal of context. "Domain transform" perhaps? Commented Oct 2, 2018 at 0:44
  • Yep, Fourier transform and Laplace transform. One might argue that the general concept is a form of inversion, but I've never heard that term applied.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 2, 2018 at 0:44
  • @HotLicks While I agree with both of you, I think it's lacking specificity. One could transform data in either direction, but I want to refer specifically to going from time to frequency. Commented Oct 2, 2018 at 0:46
  • 1
    @MatthewGoulart I don't think there is a single-word term for it; you just need to specify the type of transform, e.g. DCT. Or say time-to-frequency transform. Commented Oct 2, 2018 at 0:48

1 Answer 1


A common term for what you describe is spectral analysis, where a signal originally expressed as a sequence of values at discrete time steps is re-expressed as a linear combination of sines and cosines at discrete frequencies.

There may be a specific domain of knowledge where the practitioners use a single word. For example, an astronomer might “spectrograph” a light source. A bench technician might “FFT” a complex signal. At the more mathematical level, however, single words like “projection” or “mapping” are usually not limited to just the time-to-frequency direction.

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