Definition of probe in English:


Syllabification: probe
Pronunciation: /prōb


  • 1A blunt-ended surgical instrument used for exploring a wound or part of the body.
    More 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.
    More 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.
    More 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.
    More 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.


[with object] Back to top  
  • 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.



More 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.


More 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.

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