1. <instrument>

A pair of pinchers, or tongs; an instrument for grasping, holding firmly, or exerting traction upon, bodies which it would be inconvenient or impracticable to seize with the fingers, especially one for delicate operations, as those of watchmakers, surgeons, accoucheurs, dentists, etc. A pliers-like medical instrument used to grasp tissue.

2. <zoology> The caudal forceps-shaped appendage of earwigs and some other insects. See Earwig. Dressing forceps. See Dressing.

Origin: L. Forceps, -cipis, from the root of formus Hot + capere to take; akin to E. Heave.

(01 Mar 1998)