for·ceps (fôrsəps, -sĕps)
n. pl. forceps
1. An instrument resembling a pair of pincers or tongs, used for grasping, manipulating, or extracting, especially such an instrument used by a surgeon.
2. A pincerlike pair of movable appendages at the posterior end of the abdomen in certain insects, such as earwigs.
[Latin, fire tongs, pincers; see gwher- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.