- the trunk of an elephant.
- any long flexible snout, as of the tapir.
- Also called beak. the elongate, protruding mouth parts of certain insects, adapted for sucking or piercing.
- any of various elongate feeding, defensive, or sensory organs of the oral region, as in certain leeches and worms.
- Facetious. the human nose, especially when unusually long or prominent.
Origin of proboscis
1570–80; < Latin < Greek proboskís elephant's trunk, literally, feeder, equivalent to pro- pro-2 + bósk(ein) to feed + -is (stem -id-) noun suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for proboscis
The elephant thrust his proboscis into the lake, which disturbed the reflection.Moon Lore
The scarcest monkey in Borneo is the proboscis, or long-nosed.Borneo and the Indian Archipelago
Frank S. Marryat
He tried his proboscis upon one curiosity after another, in vain.Rollo's Museum
One of them, a round one, fell on the floor, just out of reach of his proboscis.'Animal Intelligence
George J. Romanes
In the grub he has detected the rudiment of the wing and proboscis of the future being.The Insect
- a long flexible prehensile trunk or snout, as of an elephant
- the elongated mouthparts of certain insects, adapted for piercing or sucking food
- any similar part or organ
- informal, facetious a person's nose, esp if large
C17: via Latin from Greek proboskis trunk of an elephant, from boskein to feed
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
Word Origin and History for proboscis
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- A long, flexible snout or trunk, as of an elephant.
- The slender, tubular feeding and sucking organ of certain invertebrates, such as butterflies and mosquitoes.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.