1. <zoology> A hollow organ or tube attached to the head, or connected with the mouth, of various animals, and generally used in taking food or drink; a snout; a trunk.

The proboscis of an elephant is a flexible muscular elongation of the nose. The proboscis of insects is usually a chitinous tube formed by the modified maxillae, or by the labium.

2. <zoology> By extension, applied to various tubelike mouth organs of the lower animals that can be everted or protruded.

The proboscis of annelids and of mollusks is usually a portion of the pharynx that can be everted or protruded. That of nemerteans is a special long internal organ, not connected with the mouth, and not used in feeding, but capable of being protruded from a pore in the head.

3. The nose. Proboscis monkey.

Origin: L. Fr. Gr.; before + to feed, graze.

(19 Mar 1998)

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