proboscis

noun

pro·​bos·​cis prə-ˈbä-səs How to pronounce proboscis (audio) -ˈbä-skəs How to pronounce proboscis (audio)
plural proboscises also proboscides prə-ˈbä-sə-ˌdēz How to pronounce proboscis (audio)
1
a
: the trunk of an elephant
also : any long flexible snout
b
: the human nose especially when prominent
2
: any of various elongated or extensible tubular processes (such as the sucking organ of a butterfly) of the oral region of an invertebrate

Illustration of proboscis

Illustration of proboscis
  • P proboscis 2

Examples of proboscis in a Sentence

if there were a direct relation between mendacity and the length of one's proboscis, hers would be a mile long
Recent Examples on the Web Only four species have been found with longer proboscises, which reach about half of the body length of the bee, according to the study. Irene Wright, Miami Herald, 27 Mar. 2024 All have neurons, a mouth opening at the end of a retractable proboscis, an intestine containing a microbiota and four pairs of non-articulated legs ending in claws, and most have two eyes. Laurent Palka, Discover Magazine, 1 Mar. 2024 Female mosquitoes have strong proboscises that can puncture the skin of animals, allowing the insects to suck their blood. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Dec. 2023 When photos from the film were released last year, there was some disapproval over Cooper’s large prosthetic proboscis. Tom Gliatto, Peoplemag, 23 Nov. 2023 Rob, whose ego is as bruised as his proboscis, childishly lashes out. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 26 May 2023 This leads researchers to believe these primitive insects fed on plants such as gymnosperms, challenging the belief that developing the proboscis was an adaptive response to the evolution of flowers. Lauren Sigfusson, Discover Magazine, 10 Jan. 2018 Male mosquitoes lack the surprisingly complex needle-like proboscis of the females. Ned Rozell | Alaska Science, Anchorage Daily News, 17 June 2023 Mosquitoes use their proboscis, or part of their mouth, to cut the skin and get to the capillaries or veins to fill up with blood. USA TODAY, 7 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'proboscis.' 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

Latin, from Greek proboskis, from pro- + boskein to feed

First Known Use

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of proboscis was in 1601

Dictionary Entries Near proboscis

Cite this Entry

“Proboscis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proboscis. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

proboscis

noun
pro·​bos·​cis prə-ˈbäs-əs How to pronounce proboscis (audio) -kəs How to pronounce proboscis (audio)
plural proboscises also proboscides -ˈbäs-ə-ˌdēz How to pronounce proboscis (audio)
1
: a long flexible snout
especially : the trunk of an elephant
2
: a long tube-shaped bodily part (as the sucking organ of a butterfly) in the mouth region of an invertebrate

Medical Definition

proboscis

noun
pro·​bos·​cis prə-ˈbäs-əs How to pronounce proboscis (audio) -kəs How to pronounce proboscis (audio)
plural proboscises also proboscides -ˈbäs-ə-ˌdēz How to pronounce proboscis (audio)
: any of various elongated or extensible tubular organs or processes especially of the oral region of an invertebrate: as
a
: a sucking organ of insects (as houseflies or mosquitoes) that is often also adapted for piercing
b
: one of the complex protrusible holdfasts on the scolex of certain tapeworms

More from Merriam-Webster on proboscis

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!