Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[proh-tee-uh s, -tyoos] /ˈproʊ ti əs, -tyus/
Classical Mythology. a sea god, son of Oceanus and Tethys, noted for his ability to assume different forms and to prophesy.
a person or thing that readily changes appearance, character, principles, etc.
plural protei [proh-tee-ahy] /ˈproʊ tiˌaɪ/ (Show IPA). (lowercase) Bacteriology. any of several rod-shaped, aerobic bacteria of the genus Proteus, sometimes found as pathogens in the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts of humans. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for Proteus
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We "had sight of Proteus rising from the sea," but no Triton of the upper air blew his "wreathed horn."

    The Guardians of the Columbia John H. (John Harvey) Williams
  • For it is Proteus who sends Menelaus back to the Gods whom he has neglected and offended.

    Homer's Odyssey Denton J. Snider
  • How much are the ancients to be pitied, who discovered in the ocean naught but the palace of Neptune and the cavern of Proteus!

    French Classics William Cleaver Wilkinson
  • He will present a phase of life not known to the East, not known to Egyptian Proteus.

    Homer's Odyssey Denton J. Snider
  • You twist every way like Proteus, until at last you slip through my fingers and appear as a general.

  • That all this is true to Shakespeare appears from the fact that it is false to the character of Proteus.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • Proteus was so much annoyed with Silvia that he threatened her, and seized her by the waist.

  • But the Sophist is the Proteus who takes the likeness of all of them; all other deceivers have a piece of him in them.

    Sophist Plato
  • Proteus of Egypt, whom Menelaus was supposed to have consulted about his passage homeward, was a tower of this sort with a purait.

British Dictionary definitions for Proteus


(Greek myth) a prophetic sea god capable of changing his shape at will
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for Proteus

c.1400, from Greek Proteus (see Protean).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Proteus in Medicine

Proteus Pro·te·us (prō'tē-əs)
A genus of gram-negative, rod-shaped aerobic bacteria of the family Enterobacteriaceae that includes certain species associated with human enteritis and urinary tract infections.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Proteus in Culture
Proteus [(proh-tee-uhs, proh-tyoohs)]

In classical mythology, a god who served Poseidon. Proteus could change his shape at will.

Note: Someone or something that easily takes on several different forms may be called “protean.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for Proteus

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for Proteus

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for proteus