Definition of probe in English:



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

    • ‘To do this, the RNFA placed sterile gel in the end of the sterile sleeve, placed the probe in the sleeve, and placed the probe in the groin area with a small amount of pressure.’
    • ‘These fibres were steadily improved and eventually resulted in the needle probe which is inserted by means of a guide cannula into the tissue.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If a lesion is embedded in the wall of the colon, that part of the colon can be removed laparoscopically using a laparoscopic radiographic probe.’
    • ‘These lesions were better treated by attempting fulguration with the coagulation probe.’
    • ‘A sonographic probe is inserted through a port in the bronchoscope and can demonstrate the relationship of the bronchoscope to the adjacent enlarged lymph nodes.’
    • ‘A snap-on clip that attaches to the center of the probe and acts as a guide for the exploring needle is included.’
    • ‘In a cryopexy procedure, a probe with a frozen tip is placed externally on the sclera over the area of a retinal hole or tear.’
    • ‘Coagulation was carried out with soft palpation of the probe against the bronchial wall, without pushing.’
    • ‘The probe can be used in a variety of medical applications’
    • ‘These probes could be repeatedly and safely inserted through the fiberoptic bronchoscope in normal healthy volunteers.’
    • ‘For the next eighty days Garfield lay at the mercy of a team of doctors who inserted probes into his wound and deepened its track in a vain effort to locate the bullet lodged in the president's body.’
    • ‘Esophageal probes have been used mainly in the operating room, but esophageal temperature is rarely monitored in critical care areas, and placement of the probe varies.’
    • ‘For these exams, the transducer is attached to a probe that's inserted into a natural opening in your body.’
    • ‘A drawback of this study is that instrument accuracy was not assessed and the position of the probe in the nasopharynx was not specified.’
    • ‘Cryotherapy can be used via both the rigid and flexible bronchoscopes, and rigid, semirigid, and flexible probes are commercially available.’
    • ‘A needle probe is placed into one of several locations such as the tongue.’
    • ‘Researchers in the United Kingdom have used the probe to monitor patients during hip replacement and cardiac surgical procedures, according to the release.’
    • ‘A single lesion involving a tracheotomy stoma was treated with the direct application of the probe without using the bronchoscope.’
    1. 1.1 A small device, especially an electrode, used for measuring, testing, or obtaining information.
      • ‘To measure leaf reflectance, the leaf was sandwiched between the nonreflecting, polyurethane black body and the light probe.’
      • ‘The resulting steady-state pressures were measured using a pressure probe as a manometer.’
      • ‘The redox probe could reach the electrode along the channel formed by AmB, easily corresponding to the electrochemical response obtained.’
      • ‘The formation of reactive oxygen intermediates was monitored with a fluorescence probe allowing continuous measurements.’
      • ‘The sensing of oxygen with phosphorescent probes is based on luminescence quenching.’
      • ‘One of the best ways to capture these images is to use tomography, which allows us to see the inside of an object without inserting probes or sensors.’
      • ‘The tightly focused light produces an intense electromagnetic field that could be used as a probe or to manipulate atoms or other tiny objects.’
      • ‘To test a spark plug, I put the ohmmeter probes on the center electrode and the wire terminal.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Soil water content at the various depths were measured by a neutron probe and extraction was calculated by water balance.’
      • ‘One of the first practical uses of alpha radiation was as a nuclear probe.’
      • ‘Specially designed probes detect the electric field strength inside the head.’
      • ‘Electrons at the probe tip are excited and interact with the vibrational atoms of the sample to produce a spectrum identifying the chemical composition of the material.’
      • ‘A test probe head has a plurality of electrically conducting wire members held in place in a frame by movable plates.’
      • ‘Schlumberger already makes electron beam probes but these rely on access to the on-chip metal lines to pick up signals.’
      • ‘The introduction of the electron probe and the ability to date individual grains has increased the chances of identifying source rocks of sediments.’
      • ‘For an observer to acquire both donor and acceptor fluorescence for this dual-image ratiometric measurement, the fluorescent probes must exhibit spectral overlap.’
      • ‘The GeneChip Drosophila genome array was hybridized with the test or control probes in parallel experiments.’
      • ‘The gaps responsible for the abnormal results had apparently resealed suggesting that it is worthwhile to persist with sensor probes that generate abnormal measurements initially.’
  • 2A thorough investigation into a crime or other matter.

    ‘a probe into city hall corruption’
    • ‘He says he has not discussed the issue of protecting any company or individual from the Joint Investigating Team's probe into the arms deal with anyone.’
    • ‘As part of efforts to find those involved in the crime, the governor ordered a full-swing probe into civil servants who had allegedly used their academic documents to seek promotion.’
    • ‘Fire investigators were expected to launch a probe into the cause of the blaze later today.’
    • ‘That's not to say they haven't done the occasional probe into human rights issues or corruption for that matter, but these have been few and far between and that's an unfortunate fact.’
    • ‘He is the first GMP officer to be charged in an investigation triggered by a massive probe into Internet porn based in the United States.’
    • ‘The Vigilance Department has now decided to launch a detailed probe into the matter.’
    • ‘He claimed South African mercenaries were training rebels in Kindu to use the smuggled weapons, and demanded an international probe into the matter.’
    • ‘One issue surrounded perception of how BNP allegations were being investigated compared with Operation Wheel, the probe into the riots of 2001.’
    • ‘A probe into how the New College students came to study the wrong curriculum is expected to conclude next week.’
    • ‘The arrests followed Operation Norfolk, a probe into drug trafficking conducted by the National Crime Squad.’
    • ‘The PC, who has 13 years' service, was suspended with pay pending a probe into the matter, before Paul gave orders to charge him.’
    • ‘The investigation is the latest probe into alleged irregularities in the ambulance service during 2000 and 2001.’
    • ‘The apex court reportedly acted on the petition which sought a CBI [Central Bureau of Investigation] probe into the killings.’
    • ‘A federal probe into the matter has been going on since October.’
    • ‘The Amnesty report said ‘many’ cases have not been investigated and called for a civilian-led probe into all killings by British forces, with findings made public.’
    • ‘An Indonesian investigative mission has completed a probe into the September 1999 killing of a Dutch journalist in East Timor, the mission chief said Friday.’
    • ‘Reportedly an inquiry is under way by the Chairman of school and senior officers are likely to arrive for further probe into the matter.’
    • ‘Against this background, the prosecution ought to conduct a thorough probe into the incident in which its four members were also involved.’
    • ‘It is deplorable that the ruling camp is meddling in the special investigation team's probe into the $500 million secret payment to North Korea.’
    • ‘Muslim leaders have demanded a thorough probe into the Godhra incidents and the Gujarat riots.’
    investigation, enquiry, examination, scrutiny, inquest, exploration, study, research, analysis, scrutinization
    View synonyms
  • 3An unmanned exploratory spacecraft designed to transmit information about its environment.

    • ‘Owen points to a spike in the amount of methane detected by the instruments, after the probe had landed.’
    • ‘The effects of Callisto's gravity will set up the space probe for a swing over both polar regions of the intensely volcanic moon Io in August and October.’
    • ‘Information from the Galileo space probe about Jupiter's atmosphere has left theorists baffled.’
    • ‘The Bangalore based Indian Space Research Organisation announced last month that it is pressing ahead with plans to send an unmanned space probe to the moon within the next five years.’
    • ‘Sensor probes detected activity on the Utopian space station and the domed settlement on the moon, all left defenseless as the last of the armed ships attempted to escape.’
    • ‘The tiny probe is carrying six instruments to help it analyse the atmospheric make-up, take pictures and test surface samples.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In 2004 a probe from the Cassini spacecraft will be dropped into Titan's chilly clouds for the first close-up glimpse of this oddball moon.’
    • ‘Satellites, robotic probes, or instrument packages can act as payloads.’
    • ‘One way is to travel to the planets, either with remotely operated probes or with manned spacecraft.’
    • ‘At a height of about 160 km the probe's scientific instruments were exposed to Titan's atmosphere.’
    • ‘However, the production of radioactive waste would pose a problem for sending manned missions on nuclear spacecraft rather than robotic probes.’
    • ‘From this control center, ESA engineers will be tracking the probe and scientists will be standing by to process the data from the probe's six instruments.’
    • ‘The launch of a space probe today on a quest to make the first ever landing on a comet will be eagerly watched by the Chippenham team responsible for designing the project's software.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The probe was set to lift off this afternoon from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard an Atlas V launch vehicle.’
    • ‘Their recent and most spectacular success was the landing of the Huygens space probe on Saturn's largest moon Titan, sending back pictures of far more interesting landscape than the scientists had expected.’
    • ‘For a space probe like the Mars Pathfinder mission, it was even worse.’
    • ‘Possible applications are envisaged as a means to return equipment and experiments from the International Space Station, or to accommodate probes on spacecraft to Mars.’
    • ‘I sent in multiple probes to test for oxygen, plant and animal life, and anything that might be harmful.’
  • 4A projecting device for engaging in a drogue, either on an aircraft for use in in-flight refuelling or on a spacecraft for use in docking with another craft.

    • ‘An illuminated in-flight refueling probe is installed in the top center line of the fuselage.’
    • ‘The aircraft has a flying boom receptacle and a fixed probe providing dual in-flight refuelling capability’
    • ‘For increased range the aircraft is equipped with an in-flight refuelling probe and receptacle.’
    • ‘The range and endurance time are also extended by in-flight refuelling, using a probe and drogue inflight refuelling system.’
    • ‘Ultrasound devices should be examined as a replacement for fuel probes.’
    • ‘He joined an Australian crew to view an air-to-air refuelling mission from the other side of the fuel probe.’
    • ‘The aircraft is equipped with an in-flight refuelling probe mounted above and behind the flight deck.’
    • ‘The helicopter is fitted with a forward extendable in-flight refuelling probe and it can also hoist hose refuel from a surface ship whilst in hover mode.’
    • ‘The air refueling system consists of a probe and drogue airborne refueling system.’
    • ‘At least ten are slated to receive in-flight refueling probes to further increase their range.’
    • ‘The 767 aircraft can be modified to accommodate refuelling wingpods and a centreline hose for probe and drogue refuelling.’
    • ‘He tanked in the dirty configuration by extending the inflight refueling probe, using the emergency method.’
    • ‘The aircraft can be equipped with an optional probe for probe and drogue refuelling, so the range can be extended by in-flight refuelling.’
    • ‘These are capable of refuelling Navy and NATO aircraft, which use a probe and drogue system instead of a boom and receptacle.’
    • ‘The aircraft can be fitted with an in-flight refuelling probe.’
    • ‘Modifications to the aircraft structure have been incorporated to allow the installation of a fixed detachable probe for in-flight refuelling.’
    • ‘The air-to-air refuelling probe is retracted into the aircraft to retain the aerodynamic profile.’
    • ‘Once the aircraft probe engages the basket, the pod is supposed to take up any slack in the refueling hose, keeping the hose taught between the two aircraft.’
    • ‘In the inoperative position, the refuelling probe is retracted into the nose of the fuselage in front of the pilot's cabin.’


[with object]
  • 1Physically explore or examine (something) with the hands or an instrument.

    ‘hands probed his body from top to bottom’
    • ‘After a moment, she poked at the memory of what had happened, probing it like she probed her sternum.’
    • ‘Almost hesitantly, hands settled on either side of his thigh, then the hands squeezed tight and he let his own hands fall away, feeling something probe the wound.’
    • ‘Fingers and blades probe into his belly, cutting, pulling, carelessly.’
    • ‘Doctors have been prodding and probing women for centuries to help produce healthy babies.’
    • ‘Through optical spectroscopy, researchers can probe the trapped particle's size, shape, refractive index and chemical composition.’
    • ‘Some tribes even allowed men to watch while the virgins were probed and prodded.’
    • ‘Leaning over the groaning teen, Vincent's nimble fingers began to probe the wound as he yelled out instructions.’
    • ‘I don't think I shall ever know: in the time of recovery it seemed dangerous to ask and then the time for asking passed and one was afraid to probe an old wound.’
    • ‘Nadine has probed her needles in between my teeth to check the state of the pockets under the gums.’
    • ‘Rock Wrens use their long bills to probe into narrow crevices and find prey.’
    • ‘He gently probed the wound at her temple and concluded that she would probably be just fine if she did not fall asleep for a few hours.’
    • ‘Hairy Woodpeckers forage primarily on the trunks or main limbs of trees, where they probe into crevices and scale off bark searching for prey.’
    • ‘Endoscopically, the surgeon examines the graft, probes it, and confirms that no further notchplasty is required.’
    • ‘‘Holding,’ he answered, allowing her to gently probe the sealed wound.’
    • ‘To him, everybody looked like some twisted alien, with long spindly arms that would probe every part of his body; and he didn't want anything to do with them.’
    • ‘Lee probed the wound, sighing in relief when he determined it was just a graze.’
    • ‘The ants probed the caterpillars much less often than they poked at mealworms.’
    • ‘The surgeon will then view and probe the joint, looking directly through the scope or at pictures it sends to a video monitor.’
    • ‘To assess for undermined and tunneled areas, use a moistened cotton-tipped applicator to probe the wound periphery.’
    examine, feel, feel around, explore, prod, poke, check
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1no object Enquire into someone or something closely.
      ‘what right had he to probe into her personal life?’
      with object ‘police are probing a nightwatchman's murder’
      • ‘Police are also probing whether icy roads contributed to a crash in which a man died.’
      • ‘It probed crime and business for the government and now has about 400 representative offices around the world.’
      • ‘The book probes the limits of forensic osteology and examines both successes and failures.’
      • ‘But the court is not retroactive and cannot probe crimes committed before July 1.’
      • ‘He is not going to be allowed to probe into her life.’
      • ‘A nursing home is at the centre of a police and social services probe into the death of a former resident.’
      • ‘In this context, I support the hard effort that the House special committee has been making to probe into a number of cases.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The huge scam has led to a task team being set up to fully examine government purchasing and to probe the extent of the financial loss.’
      • ‘His eyes seemed to probe into her soul, finding stones and overturning them to find secrets she had been hiding for a long, long time.’
      • ‘I could feel his mind trying to probe into my thoughts, to see what I was thinking.’
      • ‘But at some point, I'm going to have to probe into your personal life so that I can make an effective assessment.’
      • ‘As substantive policy issues become more difficult to explore, journalists are more likely to probe such information.’
      • ‘These three findings have affected me as a researcher by pressing me to probe into social behavior.’
      • ‘The special examiner then probed the legitimacy of William's first marriage to Marion.’
      • ‘Moreover, the party has formed a special task force to probe the matter.’
      • ‘The Special Investigations Unit, which probes all police shootings in Ontario, was tight-lipped about the tape.’
      • ‘In that effort her approach was weighty and dark, probing and technically assured.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I was tempted to ask him where he had been but what right did I have to probe into his life?’
      investigate, conduct an investigation into, enquire into, look into, study, conduct an enquiry into, examine, scrutinize, go into, carry out an inquest into, research, analyse, dissect, search into, delve into, dig into
      View synonyms


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.