proteus

1 of 2

noun (1)

pro·​te·​us ˈprō-tē-əs How to pronounce proteus (audio)
plural protei ˈprō-tē-ˌī How to pronounce proteus (audio)
: any of a genus (Proteus) of aerobic usually motile enterobacteria that include saprophytes in decaying organic matter and a common causative agent (P. mirabilis) of urinary tract infections

Proteus

2 of 2

noun (2)

Pro·​teus ˈprō-ˌtyüs How to pronounce Proteus (audio)
-tē-əs,
-ˌtüs How to pronounce Proteus (audio)
: a Greek sea god capable of assuming different forms

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

New Latin, from Latin, Proteus

Noun (2)

Latin, from Greek Prōteus

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1896, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of proteus was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near proteus

Cite this Entry

“Proteus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proteus. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition

proteus

noun
pro·​te·​us ˈprōt-ē-əs How to pronounce proteus (audio)
1
capitalized : a genus of aerobic gram-negative bacteria of the family Enterobacteriaceae that ferment glucose but not lactose and decompose urea, that are usually motile by means of peritrichous flagella, and that include saprophytes in decaying organic matter and a common causative agent (P. mirabilis) of urinary tract infections
2
plural protei -ˌī How to pronounce proteus (audio) : any bacterium of the genus Proteus

More from Merriam-Webster on proteus

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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