What Do CRT and LCD Stand For?

By Rosemary Peters

Acronyms. They're great shorthand in conversation when you know what they stand for, but when you don't know what they mean, acronyms can cause a lot of confusion. In the case of CRT and LCD, these acronyms refer to two different types of display screens and refer to how the display operates.

Cathode-Ray Tube

CRT stands for Cathode-Ray Tube. It is an older type of display technology going back more than a decade. If you can picture an old school computer with a big case, you can picture a CRT display. In order to create a picture on a CRT monitor, scientists fashioned the system to take advantage of the attraction between negatively charged cathodes and a positively charged anodes when electricity is introduced. When doing so, beams of light are shot at a display screen which is coated in phosphor. This phosphor can display light in different colors, and the system harnesses this ability to create a picture.

Liquid Crystal Display

LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. A big screen TV that can be mounted and lie flat against the wall is one example of an LCD screen. In LCD screens, there is a grid of tiny, colorful cells made of liquid crystals. When a light is shone at this matrix, certain cells are enabled to turn colors to create the picture you see on a TV or computer screen.