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[proh-bos-is, -kis] /proʊˈbɒs ɪs, -kɪs/
noun, plural proboscises, proboscides
[proh-bos-i-deez] /proʊˈbɒs ɪˌdiz/ (Show IPA)
the trunk of an elephant.
any long flexible snout, as of the tapir.
Also called beak. the elongate, protruding mouth parts of certain insects, adapted for sucking or piercing.
any of various elongate feeding, defensive, or sensory organs of the oral region, as in certain leeches and worms.
Facetious. the human nose, especially when unusually long or prominent.
Origin of proboscis
1570-80; < Latin < Greek proboskís elephant's trunk, literally, feeder, equivalent to pro- pro-2 + bósk(ein) to feed + -is (stem -id-) noun suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for proboscis
  • The park is popular for its walking trails and abundant wildlife that includes bearded pigs and proboscis monkeys.
  • The researchers were astonished to find clocks ticking all over the fly's body-in the wings, the legs, the proboscis.
  • proboscis monkeys are losing habitat at an alarming rate.
  • The bug's serrated proboscis touches the skin's nerves at fewer points than it would if smooth.
  • The mites wait inside a flower for a moth to insert its long proboscis, then climb along the proboscis to the ear.
  • Up a tree and out of gas, a proboscis monkey takes a snooze.
  • Morphos use their long, strawlike proboscis to feed on the juices of rotting rain-forest fruits.
  • Taken through a microscope, this photo shows the bug's eye and proboscis.
  • They acquired a proboscis they could push into their hosts to drink blood.
  • Taken through a microscope, this image shows the insect's eye and proboscis.
British Dictionary definitions for proboscis


noun (pl) -cises, -cides (-sɪˌdiːz)
a long flexible prehensile trunk or snout, as of an elephant
the elongated mouthparts of certain insects, adapted for piercing or sucking food
any similar part or organ
(informal, facetious) a person's nose, esp if large
Word Origin
C17: via Latin from Greek proboskis trunk of an elephant, from boskein to feed
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for proboscis

c.1600, "elephant's trunk," from Latin proboscis (Pliny), from Greek proboskis "elephant's trunk," literally "means for taking food," from pro "forward" (see pro-) + boskein "to nourish, feed," from boskesthai "graze, be fed," from stem *bot- (cf. botane "grass, fodder;" see botanic).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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proboscis in Science
Plural proboscises or proboscides (prō-bŏs'ĭ-dēz')
  1. A long, flexible snout or trunk, as of an elephant.

  2. The slender, tubular feeding and sucking organ of certain invertebrates, such as butterflies and mosquitoes.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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