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proboscis (proe-BOS-is) noun [plural proboscises or proboscides]

1. A long, flexible snout or trunk, as of an elephant.

2. The slender, tubular feeding and sucking organ of certain invertebrates, such as insects, worms, and mollusks.

3. A human nose, especially a prominent one.

[Latin, from Greek proboskis : pro-, in front + boskein, to feed.]

"Pulling potentates' proboscises is perennially perilous. Zimbabwe's former president, the Reverend Canaan Banana, grew so angry at the jollity inspired by his name that he banned all jokes about himself. One dreads to imagine what China's rulers will do if they catch the hacker who created a computer virus that erases the hard drive of anyone who answers `No' to the question, `Do you think that Prime Minister Li Peng is an idiot?'" You think that's funny?, The Economist, 20 Dec 1997.

proboscis, n. The rudimentary organ of an elephant which serves him in place of the knife-and-fork that Evolution has as yet denied him. For purposes of humor it is popularly called a trunk. [From The Devil's Dictionary]

This week's theme: Words from The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce.


The funny thing about regret is that it's better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven't. -Gibby Hayes

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