Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Greek Mythology A sea god who could change his shape at will.
  • n. The satellite of Neptune that is sixth in distance from the planet.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. A taxonomic genus within the family Enterobacteriaceae — several bacteria responsible for human urinary tract infections.
  • proper n. A taxonomic genus within the family Proteidae — the olm.
  • proper n. A sea god who could change his shape at will.
  • proper n. The sixth satellite of the planet Neptune

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sea god in the service of Neptune who assumed different shapes at will. Hence, one who easily changes his appearance or principles.
  • n.
  • n. A genus of aquatic eel-shaped amphibians found in caves in Austria. They have permanent external gills as well as lungs. The eyes are small and the legs are weak.
  • n. A changeable protozoan; an amœba.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In classical mythology, a sea-god, the son of Oceanus and Tethys, who had the power of assuming different shapes.
  • n. [NL.] A genus of tailed amphibians, typical of the family Proteidæ, established by Laurenti in 1768.
  • n. [NL.] In Protozoa, a genus of animalcules, based as such by O. F. Müller in 1786 upon the proteus or protean animalcule of earlier writers, as Rösel, 1755.
  • n. [lowercase] An animalcule of the genus Proteus (or Amœba); an amœba.
  • n. In bacteriology, an untenable generic name applied by some authors to certain bacteria, especially Bacillus vulgaris and other closely related putrefactive species.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (Greek mythology) a prophetic god who served Poseidon; was capable of changing his shape at will
  • n. type genus of the Proteidae

Etymologies

Latin Prōteus, from Greek.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek Πρωτεύς. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • When she went to that lady with the ring, she was most glad to find that Silvia utterly rejected the suit of Proteus; and Julia, or the page Sebastian as she was called, entered into conversation with Silvia about Proteus’ first love, the forsaken lady Julia.

    The Two Gentlemen of Verona

  • She first made out these words, “Love-wounded Proteus; ” and lamenting over these and such like loving words, which she made out though they were all torn asunder, or, she said wounded (the expression “Love-wounded Proteus” giving her that idea), she talked to these kind words, telling them she would lodge them in her bosom as in a bed, till their wounds were healed, and that she would kiss each several piece, to make amends.

    The Two Gentlemen of Verona

  • The term Proteus phenomenon has been coined to describe this phenomenon of rapidly alternating extreme research claims and extremely opposite refutations

    HAnsen and Schmidt: Predicting the Past – Continued « Climate Audit

  • The term Proteus phenomenon has been coined to describe this phenomenon of rapidly alternating extreme research claims and extremely opposite refutations [

    PLoS Medicine: New Articles

  • The Proteus Effect These researchers are tapping into what is called the Proteus effect, behavioral alterations in the real world that are triggered by changes in how our bodies appear to us in a virtual world.

    Meet 'Future You.' Like What You See?

  • Surgeon Pavy's angry protests compelled the sending back in the "Proteus" -- paralleling the sending back of Coleburne in the pink -- of one member of the company; and Lieutenant

    Henry Hudson A Brief Statement of His Aims and His Achievements

  • The Proteus is the largest of a fleet of WAM-Vs Wave Adaptive Modular Vessel that MAR has designed.

    Line Rider, internet craze, coming to Nintendo DS & Wii

  • The "diplomat" was a vombis, or what in those same myths Simon had been thinking of earlier was called a Proteus: a creature which could imitate perfectly almost any life-fonn within its size range.

    Anywhen

  • The Proteus was a shrinking dot now, smaller, smaller, down to the barest edge of sight.

    Fantastic Voyage

  • Then, seeing that he could not make us loose our hold, the Ancient One of the Sea, who was called Proteus, ceased in his changes and became as we had seen him first.

    The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy

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