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From Latin proboscis, from Ancient Greek προβοσκίς (proboskís, elephant's trunk) literally "means for taking food," from προ- (pro-, before) +‎ βόσκω (bóskō, to nourish, feed), from the root *bot, from which also comes βοτάνη (botánē, grass, fodder); more at botany.


  • IPA(key): /pɹoʊˈbɒsɪs/, /pɹoʊˈbɒskɪs/


proboscis (plural proboscises or proboscides)

  1. (anatomy) An elongated tube from the head or connected to the mouth, of an animal.
    1. (entomology, malacology) The tubular feeding and sucking organ of certain invertebrates like insects, worms and molluscs.
      • 2012, Brian Wiegmann, The Evolutionary Biology of Flies[1], page 225:
        Unlike the proboscides of Lower brachyceran lineages, which are continuous with the head capsule and tend to dangle (Matsuda 1965), the proboscides of most cyclorrhaphan species are suspended by a membranous region and divided into three functional parts: the basiproboscis (rostrum), medioproboscis (haustellum), and distiproboscis (labellum), each of which is defined by internal muscles but also shares muscles with the other regions (Graham-Smith 1930; Lall and Davies 1971).
    2. The trunk of an elephant.
  2. (informal, mildly humorous) A large or lengthy human nose.

Derived termsEdit




proboscis f (genitive proboscidis); third declension

  1. proboscis
  2. snout
  3. trunk


Third-declension noun.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative proboscis proboscidēs
Genitive proboscidis proboscidum
Dative proboscidī proboscidibus
Accusative proboscidem proboscidēs
Ablative proboscide proboscidibus
Vocative proboscis proboscidēs