Definition of probe in English:

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Pronunciation: /prōb/


1A blunt-ended surgical instrument used for exploring a wound or part of the body.
Example sentences
  • The surgeon passes the probe over the surgical site again and excises more specimen if elevated radioactive readings continue to occur.
  • In most cases, ultrasound scans are used on the surface of the body, with the probe moving over the skin.
  • A single lesion involving a tracheotomy stoma was treated with the direct application of the probe without using the bronchoscope.
1.1A small device, especially an electrode, used for measuring, testing, or obtaining information.
Example sentences
  • The electric and magnetic fields the probe measured built up a more detailed picture of the magnetopause, including the flow of electrons in the diffusion region.
  • The resulting steady-state pressures were measured using a pressure probe as a manometer.
  • To test a spark plug, I put the ohmmeter probes on the center electrode and the wire terminal.
1.2A projecting device for engaging in a drogue, either on an aircraft for use in inflight refueling or on a spacecraft for use in docking with another craft.
Example sentences
  • The aircraft can be equipped with an optional probe for probe and drogue refuelling, so the range can be extended by in-flight refuelling.
  • The range and endurance time are also extended by in-flight refuelling, using a probe and drogue inflight refuelling system.
  • These are capable of refuelling Navy and NATO aircraft, which use a probe and drogue system instead of a boom and receptacle.
1.3 (also space probe) An unmanned exploratory spacecraft designed to transmit information about its environment.
Example sentences
  • Nasa directs the unmanned space probe Galileo to plunge into the atmosphere of the planet Jupiter, destroying the craft after a 14-year space mission.
  • Twenty days after being jettisoned by its mother ship, the Huygens space probe plunged through the hazy atmosphere of Titan early Friday morning and landed on the Saturn moon.
  • Information from the Galileo space probe about Jupiter's atmosphere has left theorists baffled.
1.4An investigation into a crime or other matter: a probe into the maritime industry by the FBI
More example sentences
  • He claimed South African mercenaries were training rebels in Kindu to use the smuggled weapons, and demanded an international probe into the matter.
  • The PC, who has 13 years' service, was suspended with pay pending a probe into the matter, before Paul gave orders to charge him.
  • A federal probe into the matter has been going on since October.
investigation, inquiry, examination, inquest, exploration, study, analysis


[with object]
1Physically explore or examine (something) with the hands or an instrument: researchers probing the digestive glands of mollusks
More example sentences
  • Endoscopically, the surgeon examines the graft, probes it, and confirms that no further notchplasty is required.
  • Through optical spectroscopy, researchers can probe the trapped particle's size, shape, refractive index and chemical composition.
  • The surgeon will then view and probe the joint, looking directly through the scope or at pictures it sends to a video monitor.
examine, feel, feel around, explore, prod, poke, check
1.1 [no object] Seek to uncover information about someone or something: he began to probe into Donald’s whereabouts [with object]: police are probing another murder
More example sentences
  • The three men, who have not been named, were arrested and bailed as part of a police probe into proxy voting at last year's local elections.
  • A nursing home is at the centre of a police and social services probe into the death of a former resident.
  • They argued that the police probe into the suicide of the suspect, a former diving expert and wrestler without any criminal record, was not convincing.
investigate, inquire into, look into, study, examine, scrutinize, go into, carry out an inquest into



Example sentences
  • Only one in five victims has been saved by an organized rescue team; out of the 140 found on American slopes by teams of probers since 1950, 121 were already dead.
  • ‘I am saddened by the events that have brought us here,’ he told congressional probers on July 8.
  • Treasury officials say better tools and communication between probers and bankers will overcome the objections.


Example sentences
  • Reagan shows deep engagement with big ideas, probingly parsing distinctions between liberty and license, patiently explaining when regulation does and does not make sense.
  • The tension between this long-missed father and his alienated sons is probingly explored, but, tantalising and crucial information is deliberately kept from the audience, as it is from the boys.
  • Dr. Graham asked while looking at me probingly.


Late Middle English (as a noun): from late Latin proba 'proof' (in medieval Latin 'examination'), from Latin probare 'to test'. The verb dates from the mid 17th century.

Words that rhyme with probe

daube, enrobe, globe, Job, lobe, robe, strobe

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: probe

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