[ fawr-suh ps, -seps ]
/ ˈfɔr səps, -sɛps /

noun, plural for·ceps, for·ci·pes [fawr-suh-peez] /ˈfɔr səˌpiz/.

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


for·ceps·like, adjectivefor·cip·i·al [fawr-sip-ee-uh l] /fɔrˈsɪp i əl/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for forceps

British Dictionary definitions for forceps

/ (ˈfɔːsɪps) /

noun plural -ceps or -cipes (-sɪˌpiːz)

  1. a surgical instrument in the form of a pair of pincers, used esp in the delivery of babies
  2. (as modifier)a forceps baby
any pincer-like instrument
any part or structure of an organism shaped like a forceps

Derived forms of forceps

forceps-like, adjective

Word Origin for 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

Medicine definitions for forceps

[ fôrsəps, -sĕps ]

n. pl. forceps

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.