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 proboscides (audio) \

Definition of proboscis

1a : 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

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Synonyms for proboscis

Synonyms

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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 Often, the single eyeball stared unnervingly out from the middle of the face, sometimes with a fleshy forehead proboscis above it — a nose at once displaced and deformed. Eric Boodman, STAT, "Leave a Comment," 23 Oct. 2019 The cigar-smoking vaudevillian with the prominent proboscis bought the property in 1944 and had the main house remodeled into a contemporary in 1963. Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property Newsletter: Tobey Maguire and Cheryl Tiegs get back into the realty market," 5 Oct. 2019 The mosquitoes didn’t have enough force to push their needle-like proboscis through the graphene oxide, which protected the volunteers. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Graphene-Coated Fabric Causes Mosquitoes to Buzz Off," 20 Aug. 2019 These rare orchids have long nectar tubes into which moths stick their tonguelike proboscises to reach a sugary reward. National Geographic, "Our three favorite scientific breakthroughs this month," 22 July 2019 The bugs then pierce their prey with a dagger-like proboscis, injecting enzymes and possibly anesthetic chemicals. National Geographic, "Giant water bugs eat turtles, ducklings, and even snakes," 3 Apr. 2019 The partially prehensile proboscis helps the species probe the ground for leaves and fallen fruit. Bradley J. Fikes, sandiegouniontribune.com, "For the Fourth, bring out the (San Diego Zoo) babies!," 3 July 2018 Just about every butterfly and moth that has hollow scales today has a proboscis, Mr. van Eldijk said. Nicholas St. Fleur, New York Times, "Finding the Oldest Fossils of Butterflies Using a Human Nose Hair," 10 Jan. 2018 With no flowers around, the researchers believe the primitive moths and butterflies developed the physical attributes — namely the sucking proboscis — to find nutrition from sugary water droplets from the tips of tree seeds. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "World's oldest butterfly and moth fossils discovered in 200-million-year-old 'pond scum'," 11 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'proboscis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of proboscis

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for proboscis

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

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More Definitions for proboscis

proboscis

noun
How to pronounce proboscis (audio) How to pronounce proboscis (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of proboscis

biology : the long, thin nose of some animals (such as an elephant)
biology : a long, thin tube that forms part of the mouth of some insects (such as a butterfly)
humorous : a person's nose especially when it is very long or big

proboscis

noun
pro·​bos·​cis | \ prə-ˈbä-səs How to pronounce proboscis (audio) , -ˈbäs-kəs\

Kids Definition of proboscis

: a long flexible hollow body part (as the trunk of an elephant)

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 proboscides (audio) \

Medical Definition of proboscis

: 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

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