[fawr-suh ps, -seps]
- an instrument, as pincers or tongs, for seizing and holding objects, as in surgical operations.
- Anatomy, Zoology. a part or feature resembling a forceps, especially a pair of appendages at the posterior of certain insects.
Origin of forceps
1625–35; < Latin: pair of tongs, pincers, said to be a contraction of *formiceps, equivalent to form(us) warm + -i- -i- + -ceps -taker, derivative of capere to take (cf. prince), i.e., that which takes hot things; compare, however, forpex, forfex tongs, shears, from which forceps may have been formed by folk etymology
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for forceps
In a few moments the thread is cold, and if the forceps be compressed, this thread will bend.On Laboratory Arts
He laid a large revolver on the table and picked up the forceps.
The dentist peered at it, inserted his forceps and set to work.
If they can be seen they should be removed with the forceps designed for that purpose.Old-Time Makers of Medicine
James J. Walsh
They had to leap out of the water to take the food from the forceps.The Outline of Science, Vol. 1 (of 4)
J. Arthur Thomson
- a surgical instrument in the form of a pair of pincers, used esp in the delivery of babies
- (as modifier)a forceps baby
- any pincer-like instrument
- any part or structure of an organism shaped like a forceps
C17: from Latin, from formus hot + capere to seize
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 forceps
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- An instrument resembling a pair of pincers, used for grasping, manipulating, or extracting, especially in surgery.
- Either of two bands of white fibers composing the radiation of the corpus callosum to the cerebrum.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.