Webster's Dictionary, 1913

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Probability noun ; plural Probabilities . [ Latin probabilitas : confer French probabilité .]


1. The quality or state of being probable; appearance of reality or truth; reasonable ground of presumption; likelihood.

Probability is the appearance of the agreement or disagreement of two ideas, by the intervention of proofs whose connection is not constant, but appears for the most part to be so.
Locke.

2. That which is or appears probable; anything that has the appearance of reality or truth.

The whole life of man is a perpetual comparison of evidence and balancing of probabilities .
Buckminster.

We do not call for evidence till antecedent probabilities fail.
J. H. Newman.

3. (Math.) Likelihood of the occurrence of any event in the doctrine of chances, or the ratio of the number of favorable chances to the whole number of chances, favorable and unfavorable. See 1st Chance , noun , 5.

Syn. -- Likeliness; credibleness; likelihood; chance.

Probable adjective [ Latin probabilis , from probare to try, approve, prove: confer French probable . See Prove , and confer Provable .]


1. Capable of being proved. [ Obsolete]

2. Having more evidence for than against; supported by evidence which inclines the mind to believe, but leaves some room for doubt; likely.

That is accounted probable which has better arguments producible for it than can be brought against it.
South.

I do not say that the principles of religion are merely probable ; I have before asserted them to be morally certain.
Bp. Wilkins.

3. Rendering probable; supporting, or giving ground for, belief, but not demonstrating; as, probable evidence; probable presumption. Blackstone.

Probable cause (Law) , a reasonable ground of presumption that a charge is, or my be, well founded. - - Probable error (of an observation, or of the mean of a number), that within which, taken positively and negatively, there is an even chance that the real error shall lie. Thus, if 3″ is the probable error in a given case, the chances that the real error is greater than 3″ are equal to the chances that it is less. The probable error is computed from the observations made, and is used to express their degree of accuracy. -- The probable , that which is within the bounds of probability; that which is not unnatural or preternatural; -- opposed to the marvelous .

Probably adverb In a probable manner; in likelihood.

Distinguish between what may possibly and what will probably be done.
L'Estrange.

Probacy noun [ See Probate .] Proof; trial. [ Obsolete] Chaucer.

Probal adjective Approved; probable. [ Obsolete] Shak.

Probality noun Probability. [ Obsolete] "With as great probality ." Holland.

Probang noun [ See Probe .] A slender elastic rod, as of whalebone, with a sponge on the end, for removing obstructions from the esophagus, etc.

Probate noun [ From Latin probatus , past participle of probare to prove. See Prove .]


1. Proof. [ Obsolete] Skelton.

2. (Law) (a) Official proof; especially, the proof before a competent officer or tribunal that an instrument offered, purporting to be the last will and testament of a person deceased, is indeed his lawful act; the copy of a will proved, under the seal of the Court of Probate, delivered to the executors with a certificate of its having been proved. Bouvier. Burrill. (b) The right or jurisdiction of proving wills.

Probate adjective Of or belonging to a probate, or court of probate; as, a probate record.

Probate Court , or Court of Probate , a court for the probate of wills. -- Probate duty , a government tax on property passing by will. [ Eng.]

Probate transitive verb To obtain the official approval of, as of an instrument purporting to be the last will and testament; as, the executor has probated the will.

Probation noun [ Latin probatio , from probare to try, examine, prove: confer French probation . See Prove .]


1. The act of proving; also, that which proves anything; proof. [ Obsolete]

When by miracle God dispensed great gifts to the laity, . . . he gave probation that he intended that all should prophesy and preach.
Jer. Taylor.

2. Any proceeding designed to ascertain truth, to determine character, qualification, etc.; examination; trial; as, to engage a person on probation . Hence, specifically: (a) The novitiate which a person must pass in a convent, to probe his or her virtue and ability to bear the severities of the rule. (b) The trial of a ministerial candidate's qualifications prior to his ordination, or to his settlement as a pastor. (c) Moral trial; the state of man in the present life, in which he has the opportunity of proving his character, and becoming qualified for a happier state.

No [ view of human life] seems so reasonable as that which regards it as a state of probation .
Paley.

Probational adjective Probationary.

Probationary adjective Of or pertaining to probation; serving for trial.

To consider this life . . . as a probationary state.
Paley.

Probationer noun


1. One who is undergoing probation; one who is on trial; a novice.

While yet a young probationer ,
And candidate of heaven.
Dryden.

2. A student in divinity, who, having received certificates of good morals and qualifications from his university, is admitted to several trials by a presbytery, and, on acquitting himself well, is licensed to preach. [ Scot.]

Probationership noun The state of being a probationer; novitiate. Locke.

Probationship noun A state of probation.

Probative adjective [ Latin probativus : confer French probatif .] Serving for trial or proof; probationary; as, probative judgments; probative evidence. South.

Probator noun [ Latin ]
1. An examiner; an approver. Maydman.

2. (O. Eng. Law) One who, when indicted for crime, confessed it, and accused others, his accomplices, in order to obtain pardon; a state's evidence.

Probatory adjective [ Confer French probatoire .]
1. Serving for trial; probationary. Abp. Bramhall.

2. Pertaining to, or serving for, proof. Jer. Taylor.

Probatory term (Law) , a time for taking testimony.

Probe transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Probed ; present participle & verbal noun Probing .] [ Latin probare to try, examine. See Prove .]


1. To examine, as a wound, an ulcer, or some cavity of the body, with a probe.

2. Fig.: to search to the bottom; to scrutinize or examine thoroughly. Dryden.

The growing disposition to probe the legality of all acts, of the crown.
Hallam.

Probe noun (Surg.) An instrument for examining the depth or other circumstances of a wound, ulcer, or cavity, or the direction of a sinus, of for exploring for bullets, for stones in the bladder, etc. Parr.

Probe , or Probe-pointed , scissors (Surg.) , scissors used to open wounds, the blade of which, to be thrust into the orifice, has a button at the end. Wiseman.

Probe-pointed adjective (Surg.) Having a blunt or button-shaped extremity; -- said of cutting instruments.

Probeagle noun (Zoology) See Porbeagle .

Probity noun [ French probité , from Latin probitas , from probus good, proper, honest. Confer Prove .] Tried virtue or integrity; approved moral excellence; honesty; rectitude; uprightness. " Probity of mind." Pope.

Syn. -- Probity , Integrity . Probity denotes unimpeachable honesty and virtue, shown especially by the performance of those obligations, called imperfect , which the laws of the state do not reach, and can not enforce. Integrity denotes a whole -hearted honesty, and especially that which excludes all injustice that might favor one's self. It has a peculiar reference to uprightness in mutual dealings, transfer of property, and the execution of trusts for others.

Problem noun [ French problème , Latin problema , from Greek ... anything thrown forward, a question proposed for solution, from ... to throw or lay before; ... before, forward + ... to throw. Confer Parable . ]


1. A question proposed for solution; a matter stated for examination or proof; hence, a matter difficult of solution or settlement; a doubtful case; a question involving doubt. Bacon.

2. (Math.) Anything which is required to be done; as, in geometry, to bisect a line, to draw a perpendicular; or, in algebra, to find an unknown quantity.

» Problem differs from theorem in this, that a problem is something to be done, as to bisect a triangle, to describe a circle, etc.; a theorem is something to be proved, as that all the angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles.

Plane problem (Geom.) , a problem that can be solved by the use of the rule and compass. -- Solid problem (Geom.) , a problem requiring in its geometric solution the use of a conic section or higher curve.

Problematic, Problematical adjective [ Latin problematicus , Greek ...: confer French problématique .] Having the nature of a problem; not shown in fact; questionable; uncertain; unsettled; doubtful. -- Prob`lem*at"ic*al*ly , adverb

Diligent inquiries into remote and problematical guilt leave a gate wide open to . . . informers.
Swift.

Problematist noun One who proposes problems. [ R.] Evelyn.

Problematize transitive verb To propose problems. [ R.] "Hear him problematize ." B. Jonson.

Proboscidate adjective [ See Proboscis .] (Zoology) Having a proboscis; proboscidial.

Proboscidea noun plural [ New Latin See Proboscis .] (Zoology) An order of large mammals including the elephants and mastodons.

Proboscidean adjective (Zoology) Proboscidian.

Proboscidial adjective (Zoology) Proboscidate.

Proboscidian adjective (Zoology) Pertaining to the Proboscidea. -- noun One of the Proboscidea.

Proboscidifera noun plural [ New Latin See Proboscis , and -ferous .]


1. (Zoology) An extensive division of pectinibranchiate gastropods, including those that have a long retractile proboscis, with the mouth at the end, as the cones, whelks, tritons, and cowries. See Illust. of Gastropoda , and of Winkle .

2. (Zoology) A subdivision of the tænioglossate gastropods, including the fig-shells ( Pyrula ), the helmet shells ( Cassis ), the tritons, and allied genera.

Proboscidiform adjective Having the form or uses of a proboscis; as, a proboscidiform mouth.

Proboscis noun ; plural Proboscides . [ Latin from Greek ...; ... before + ... to feed, graze.]
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 maxillæ, or by the labium. See Illusts . of Hemiptera and Lepidoptera .

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. See Illust. in Appendix.

3. The nose. [ Jocose]

Proboscis monkey . (Zoology) See Kahau .

Procœle noun [ Prefix pro + Greek ... hollow.] (Anat.) A lateral cavity of the prosencephalon; a lateral ventricle of the brain. B. G. Wilder.

Procœlia noun ; plural Procœliæ [ New Latin ] (Anat.) Same as Procœle .

Procœlia noun plural [ New Latin ] (Zoology) A division of Crocodilia, including the true crocodiles and alligators, in which the dorsal vertebræ are concave in front.

Procœlian adjective [ See Procœle .] (Anat & Zoology) Concave in front; as, procœlian vertebræ, which have the anterior end of the centra concave and the posterior convex.

Procœlian noun (Zoology) A reptile having procœlian vertebræ; one of the Procœlia.

Procœlous adjective Same as Procœlian .

Procacious adjective [ Latin procax , -acis , from procare to ask, demand.] Pert; petulant; forward; saucy. [ R.] Barrow.

Procacity noun [ Latin procacitas .] Forwardness; pertness; petulance. [ R.] Burton.

Procambium noun [ New Latin See Pro- , and Cambium .] (Botany) The young tissue of a fibrovascular bundle before its component cells have begun to be differentiated. Sachs.

Procatarctic adjective [ Greek ... beginning beforehand. from ... to begin first; ... before + ... to begin; ... intens. + ... to begin: confer French procatarctique . ] (Medicine) Beginning; predisposing; exciting; initial. [ Obsolete]

» The words procatarctic causes have been used with different significations. Thus they have been employed synonymously with prime causes , exciting causes , and predisposing or remote causes .

The physician inquires into the procatarctic causes.
Harvey.

Procatarxis noun [ New Latin , from Greek ... first beginning.] (Medicine) The kindling of a disease into action; also, the procatarctic cause. Quincy.

Procedendo noun [ Abl. of the gerundive of Latin procedere . see Proceed .] (Law) (a) A writ by which a cause which has been removed on insufficient grounds from an inferior to a superior court by certiorari , or otherwise, is sent down again to the same court, to be proceeded in there. (b) In English practice, a writ issuing out of chancery in cases where the judges of subordinate courts delay giving judgment, commanding them to proceed to judgment. (c) A writ by which the commission of the justice of the peace is revived, after having been suspended. Tomlins. Burrill.

Procedure noun [ French procédure . See Proceed .]
1. The act or manner of proceeding or moving forward; progress; process; operation; conduct. "The true procedure of conscience." South.

2. A step taken; an act performed; a proceeding; the steps taken in an action or other legal proceeding. "Gracious procedures ." I. Taylor.

3. That which results; issue; product. [ Obsolete] Bacon.