proteus

noun (1)
pro·te·us | \ˈprō-tē-əs \
plural protei\ˈprō-tē-ˌī \

Definition of proteus 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

noun (2)
Pro·teus | \ˈprō-ˌtyüs, -tē-əs, -ˌtüs \

Definition of Proteus (Entry 2 of 2)

: a Greek sea god capable of assuming different forms

Examples of proteus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One of the creature’s other monikers, proteus, stems from an early Greek sea god who had the ability to change shape. Joshua Rapp Learn, Smithsonian, "Cave Dragons Exist—And Saving Them Could Be Key to Protecting Drinking Water," 22 June 2017 One of the creature’s other monikers, proteus, stems from an early Greek sea god who had the ability to change shape. Joshua Rapp Learn, Smithsonian, "Cave Dragons Exist—And Saving Them Could Be Key to Protecting Drinking Water," 22 June 2017 One of the creature’s other monikers, proteus, stems from an early Greek sea god who had the ability to change shape. Joshua Rapp Learn, Smithsonian, "Cave Dragons Exist—And Saving Them Could be Key to Protecting Drinking Water," 23 June 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of proteus

Noun (1)

1896, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for proteus

Noun (1)

New Latin, from Latin, Proteus

Noun (2)

Latin, from Greek Prōteus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about proteus

Statistics for proteus

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for proteus

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for proteus

proteus

noun
pro·te·us | \ˈprōt-ē-əs \

Medical Definition of proteus 

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 -tei\-ˌī \ : any bacterium of the genus Proteus

More from Merriam-Webster on proteus

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about proteus

Comments on proteus

What made you want to look up proteus? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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