The term "waveform" refers to the shape of any [graph] of a primary variable plotted on the vertical axis against another secondary variable (commonly time) plotted on the horizontal axis. The axes are sometimes rotated through 90 degrees. An instrument called an oscilloscope can be used pictorially to represent a wave as an image on a screen. A waveform can be depicted by a graph that shows the changes in a recorded signal's amplitude over the duration of recording. The amplitude of the signal is measured on the -axis (vertical), and time on the -axis (horizontal).
The Fourier series describes the decomposition of periodic waveforms, such that any periodic waveform can be formed by the sum of a (possibly infinite) set of fundamental and harmonic components. Finite-energy non-periodic waveforms can be analyzed into sinusoids by the Fourier transform.
Other waveforms are often called composite waveforms and can often be described as a combination of a number of sinusoidal waves or other basis functions added together.
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