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[proh-tee-uh s, -tyoos] /ˈproʊ ti əs, -tyus/
Classical Mythology. a sea god, son of Oceanus and Tethys, noted for his ability to assume different forms and to prophesy.
a person or thing that readily changes appearance, character, principles, etc.
plural protei [proh-tee-ahy] /ˈproʊ tiˌaɪ/ (Show IPA). (lowercase) Bacteriology. any of several rod-shaped, aerobic bacteria of the genus Proteus, sometimes found as pathogens in the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts of humans. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Proteus
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We "had sight of Proteus rising from the sea," but no Triton of the upper air blew his "wreathed horn."

    The Guardians of the Columbia John H. (John Harvey) Williams
  • For it is Proteus who sends Menelaus back to the Gods whom he has neglected and offended.

    Homer's Odyssey Denton J. Snider
  • How much are the ancients to be pitied, who discovered in the ocean naught but the palace of Neptune and the cavern of Proteus!

    French Classics William Cleaver Wilkinson
  • He will present a phase of life not known to the East, not known to Egyptian Proteus.

    Homer's Odyssey Denton J. Snider
  • You twist every way like Proteus, until at last you slip through my fingers and appear as a general.

  • That all this is true to Shakespeare appears from the fact that it is false to the character of Proteus.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • Proteus was so much annoyed with Silvia that he threatened her, and seized her by the waist.

  • But the Sophist is the Proteus who takes the likeness of all of them; all other deceivers have a piece of him in them.

    Sophist Plato
  • Proteus of Egypt, whom Menelaus was supposed to have consulted about his passage homeward, was a tower of this sort with a purait.

British Dictionary definitions for Proteus


(Greek myth) a prophetic sea god capable of changing his shape at will
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 Proteus

c.1400, from Greek Proteus (see Protean).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Proteus in Medicine

Proteus Pro·te·us (prō'tē-əs)
A genus of gram-negative, rod-shaped aerobic bacteria of the family Enterobacteriaceae that includes certain species associated with human enteritis and urinary tract infections.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Proteus in Culture
Proteus [(proh-tee-uhs, proh-tyoohs)]

In classical mythology, a god who served Poseidon. Proteus could change his shape at will.

Note: Someone or something that easily takes on several different forms may be called “protean.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Proteus in Technology

An extensible language, the core of PARSEC.
["The Design of a Minimal Expandable Computer Language", J.R. Bell, PhD Thesis, CS, Stanford University (Dec 1968)].

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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