verb (used with object), probed, prob·ing.

to search into or examine thoroughly; question closely: to probe one's conscience.
to examine or explore with a probe.

verb (used without object), probed, prob·ing.

to examine or explore with or as if with a probe.


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. 2019

Examples from the Web for probing

Contemporary Examples of probing

Historical Examples of probing

  • Simmias acknowledges that there is cowardice in not probing truth to the bottom.



  • The amputation, the incision, the probing had to be done then and there, on the instant.

    Charles Carleton Coffin

    William Elliot Griffis, D. D.

  • His fingers quested all over one plate, probing and tapping.

    The Devil's Asteroid

    Manly Wade Wellman

  • That's where our ship landed on the second probing expedition.

    Despoilers of the Golden Empire

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • The time for probing was near, but it lingered yet a little.

    The Rhodesian

    Gertrude Page

British Dictionary definitions for probing



(tr) to search into or question closely
to examine (something) with or as if with a probe


something that probes, examines, or tests
surgery a slender and usually flexible instrument for exploring a wound, sinus, etc
a thorough inquiry, such as one by a newspaper into corrupt practices
electronics a lead connecting to or containing a measuring or monitoring circuit used for testing
electronics a conductor inserted into a waveguide or cavity resonator to provide coupling to an external circuit
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
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 probing



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

probing in Medicine




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


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.