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noun pro·file \ˈprō-ˌfī(-ə)l\

: the shape of a head or face that is seen or drawn from the side

: the shape of something that is seen against a background

: a brief written description that provides information about someone or something

Full Definition of PROFILE

:  a representation of something in outline; especially :  a human head or face represented or seen in a side view
:  an outline seen or represented in sharp relief :  contour
:  a side or sectional elevation: as
a :  a drawing showing a vertical section of the ground
b :  a vertical section of a soil from the ground surface to the underlying unweathered material
:  a set of data often in graphic form portraying the significant features of something <a corporation's earnings profile>; especially :  a graph representing the extent to which an individual exhibits traits or abilities as determined by tests or ratings
:  a concise biographical sketch
:  degree or level of public exposure <trying to keep a low profile> <a job with a high profile>

Examples of PROFILE

  1. His profile is very unusual.
  2. An image of the President's profile appears on the coin.
  3. I read a profile of her in a magazine.

Origin of PROFILE

Italian profilo, from profilare to draw in outline, from pro- forward (from Latin) + filare to spin, from Late Latin — more at file
First Known Use: 1645

Synonym Discussion of PROFILE

outline, contour, profile, silhouette mean the line that bounds and gives form to something. outline applies to a line marking the outer limits or edges of a body or mass <traced the outline of his hand>. contour stresses the quality of an outline or a bounding surface as being smooth, jagged, curving, or sharply angled <a car with flowing contours>. profile suggests a varied and sharply defined outline against a lighter background <a portrait of her face in profile>. silhouette suggests a shape especially of a head or figure with all detail blacked out in shadow leaving only the outline clearly defined <photograph in silhouette against a bright sky>.

Other Fine Arts Terms

Gothic, baroque, bas-relief, limn, oeuvre, pastiche, rococo, sfumato



: to give a brief description that provides information about (someone or something)


Full Definition of PROFILE

transitive verb
:  to represent in profile or by a profile :  produce (as by drawing, writing, or graphing) a profile of
:  to shape the outline of by passing a cutter around
:  to subject to profiling
pro·fil·er noun

Examples of PROFILE

  1. The mayor was profiled in the magazine last month.

First Known Use of PROFILE

PROFILE Defined for Kids


noun pro·file \ˈprō-ˌfīl\

Definition of PROFILE for Kids

:  something (as a head or a mountain) seen or drawn from the side
:  a level of activity that draws attention <As an actress, she can't avoid a high profile.>


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