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[prohb] /proʊb/
verb (used with object), probed, probing.
to search into or examine thoroughly; question closely:
to probe one's conscience.
to examine or explore with a probe.
verb (used without object), probed, probing.
to examine or explore with or as if with a probe.
the act of probing.
a slender surgical instrument for exploring the depth or direction of a wound, sinus, or the like.
an investigation, especially by a legislative committee, of suspected illegal activity.
Aerospace. space probe.
a projecting, pipelike device on a receiving aircraft used to make connection with and receive fuel from a tanker aircraft during refueling in flight.
a device, attached by cord to an oven, that can be inserted into roasts or other food so that the oven shuts off when the desired internal temperature of the food is reached.
Biology. any identifiable substance that is used to detect, isolate, or identify another substance, as a labeled strand of DNA that hybridizes with its complementary RNA or a monoclonal antibody that combines with a specific protein.
Origin of probe
1555-65; (noun) < Medieval Latin proba examination, Late Latin: test, derivative of probāre (see prove); (v.) partly derivative of the noun, partly < Latin probāre. See proof
Related forms
probeable, adjective
prober, noun
reprobe, verb, reprobed, reprobing.
unprobed, adjective
1. investigate, scrutinize. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for probe
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • probe into the beginnings of any African colony and you immediately uncover intrigue and militant imperialism.

    An African Adventure Isaac F. Marcosson
  • These voices of the Carmelites aided Durtal to probe his despair deeply.

    En Route J.-K. (Joris-Karl) Huysmans
  • At which the doctor stepped forward and proceeded to probe and dress the wound.

    The Cabin on the Prairie C. H. (Charles Henry) Pearson
  • "How you probe the innermost secrets of one's heart, Dubravnik," she smiled at me.

    Princess Zara Ross Beeckman
  • He must probe into the physical condition of the man, as related to his mental acts.

British Dictionary definitions for probe


(transitive) to search into or question closely
to examine (something) with or as if with a probe
something that probes, examines, or tests
(surgery) a slender and usually flexible instrument for exploring a wound, sinus, etc
a thorough inquiry, such as one by a newspaper into corrupt practices
(electronics) a lead connecting to or containing a measuring or monitoring circuit used for testing
(electronics) a conductor inserted into a waveguide or cavity resonator to provide coupling to an external circuit
any of various devices that provide a coupling link, esp a flexible tube extended from an aircraft to link it with another so that it can refuel
Derived Forms
probeable, adjective
prober, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin proba investigation, from Latin probāre to test
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for probe

early 15c., "instrument for exploring wounds, etc.," also "an examination," from Medieval Latin proba "examination," in Late Latin "a test, proof," from Latin probare (see prove). Meaning "act of probing" is 1890, from the verb; figurative sense of "penetrating investigation" is from 1903. Meaning "small, unmanned exploratory craft" is attested from 1953.


1640s, originally figurative; "to search thoroughly, interrogate;" from probe (n.) and partly from Latin probare. Literal sense of "to examine with a probe" is from 1680s. Related: Probed; probing; probingly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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probe in Medicine

probe (prōb)
A slender flexible surgical instrument with a blunt bulbous tip, used to explore a wound or body cavity. v. probed, prob·ing, probes
To explore a wound or body cavity with a probe.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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probe in Technology

An object-oriented logic language based on ObjVlisp.
["Proposition d'une Extension Objet Minimale pour Prolog", Actes du Sem Prog en Logique, Tregastel (May 1987), pp. 483-506].

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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