probe

1 of 2

noun

plural probes
1
: a slender medical instrument used especially for exploration (as of a wound or body cavity)
2
a
: any of various testing devices or substances: such as
(1)
: a pointed metal tip for making electrical contact with a circuit element being checked
(2)
: a usually small object that is inserted into something so as to test conditions at a given point
(3)
: a device used to penetrate or send back information especially from outer space or a celestial body
(4)
: a device (such as an ultrasound generator) or a substance (such as radioactively labeled DNA) used to obtain specific information for diagnostic or experimental purposes
b
: a pipe on the receiving airplane thrust into the drogue of the delivering airplane in air refueling
3
a
: the action of probing
b
: a penetrating or critical investigation
c
: a tentative exploratory advance or survey

probe

2 of 2

verb

probed; probing; probes

transitive verb

1
: to search into and explore very thoroughly : subject to a penetrating investigation
2
: to examine with a probe
uncrewed vehicles probed space

intransitive verb

: to make a searching exploratory investigation
prober noun
Choose the Right Synonym for probe

enter, penetrate, pierce, probe mean to make way into something.

enter is the most general of these and may imply either going in or forcing a way in.

entered the city in triumph

penetrate carries a strong implication of an impelling force or compelling power that achieves entrance.

the enemy penetrated the fortress

pierce means an entering or cutting through with a sharp pointed instrument.

pierced the boil with a lancet

probe implies penetration to investigate or explore something hidden from sight or knowledge.

probed the depths of the sea

Examples of probe in a Sentence

Noun The FBI probe did not produce any new evidence. a congressional probe into the accusations Verb His questions made it clear he was probing for information. He didn't like the police probing into his past. He didn't like the police probing him about his past. The doctor probed the wound with his finger. Searchers probed the mud with long poles. She probed the files for evidence that would help the investigation.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The resulting probe found no evidence that the anatomy department under Pernkopf — who had ascended to become dean of the medical faculty at the University of Vienna in 1938 — had received bodies from the Mauthausen concentration camp, as some had wondered. Emily Alpert Reyes, Los Angeles Times, 20 May 2024 By then, public opinion had shifted in the former president’s favor after it was revealed that Sergio Moro, the judge who oversaw a larger corruption probe into misappropriation of public funds, had improperly colluded with prosecutors to build a case against Lula. Brent Lang, Variety, 19 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for probe 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'probe.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Medieval Latin proba examination, from Latin probare

First Known Use

Noun

1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

circa 1542, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of probe was circa 1542

Dictionary Entries Near probe

Cite this Entry

“Probe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/probe. Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

probe

1 of 2 noun
1
: a slender medical instrument especially for examining a cavity (as a deep wound)
2
: a device used to penetrate or send back information especially from outer space
3
: a careful investigation
4
: an attempt to explore or learn about some unknown place
a space probe

probe

2 of 2 verb
probed; probing
1
: to examine with or as if with a probe
2
: to investigate thoroughly
prober noun

Medical Definition

probe

1 of 2 noun
1
: a surgical instrument that consists typically of a light slender fairly flexible pointed metal instrument like a small rod that is used typically for locating a foreign body (as a bullet embedded in a part of the body), for exploring a wound or suppurative tract by prodding or piercing, or for penetrating and exploring bodily passages and cavities
2
: a device (as an ultrasound generator) or a substance (as radioactively labeled DNA) used to obtain specific information (as detection of a virus or location of specific segments of a nucleic acid) for diagnostic or experimental purposes
the radioactive probe revealed the distribution of molecules in the membrane

probe

2 of 2 verb
probed; probing

transitive verb

: to examine with or as if with a probe
probe a wound

intransitive verb

: to search by using a probe
probe for a bullet

More from Merriam-Webster on probe

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