Proteus prō´tēəs, –tyo͞os , in Greek mythology, prophetic old man of the sea who tended the seals of Poseidon. He could change himself into any shape he pleased, but if he were nevertheless seized and held, he would foretell the future. The word protean is derived from his name.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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