verb (used with object), probed, prob·ing.
  1. to search into or examine thoroughly; question closely: to probe one's conscience.
  2. to examine or explore with a probe.
verb (used without object), probed, prob·ing.
  1. to examine or explore with or as if with a probe.
  1. the act of probing.
  2. a slender surgical instrument for exploring the depth or direction of a wound, sinus, or the like.
  3. an investigation, especially by a legislative committee, of suspected illegal activity.
  4. Aerospace. space probe.
  5. a projecting, pipelike device on a receiving aircraft used to make connection with and receive fuel from a tanker aircraft during refueling in flight.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 formsprobe·a·ble, adjectiveprob·er, nounre·probe, verb, re·probed, re·prob·ing.un·probed, adjective

Synonyms for probe Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for probed

Contemporary Examples of probed

Historical Examples of probed

  • She could not parry the question as she had done before, and it probed depths.


    William J. Locke

  • The parson was acutely moved for the anguish he had not probed.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • The souls of the principal characters are probed to their lowest depths.

  • Lester could only guess at her meaning, and would not have probed her for the world.

    The Coryston Family

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

  • I had probed the hearts of the ruffians, and I did not need Antoinette's warning.

British Dictionary definitions for probed


  1. (tr) to search into or question closely
  2. to examine (something) with or as if with a probe
  1. something that probes, examines, or tests
  2. surgery a slender and usually flexible instrument for exploring a wound, sinus, etc
  3. a thorough inquiry, such as one by a newspaper into corrupt practices
  4. electronics a lead connecting to or containing a measuring or monitoring circuit used for testing
  5. electronics a conductor inserted into a waveguide or cavity resonator to provide coupling to an external circuit
  6. 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
  7. See space probe
Derived Formsprobeable, adjectiveprober, noun

Word Origin for probe

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

Word Origin and History for probed



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

probed in Medicine


  1. A slender, flexible surgical instrument with a blunt bulbous tip, used to explore a wound or body cavity.
  2. A substance, such as DNA, that is radioactively labeled or otherwise marked and used to detect or identify another substance in a sample.
  1. 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.