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noun pro·file \ˈprō-ˌfī(-ə)l\

Simple Definition of profile

  • : 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

  1. 1 :  a representation of something in outline; especially :  a human head or face represented or seen in a side view

  2. 2 :  an outline seen or represented in sharp relief :  contour

  3. 3 :  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

  4. 4 :  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

  5. 5 :  a concise biographical sketch

  6. 6 :  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



verb pro·file

Simple Definition of profile

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

Full Definition of profile


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to represent in profile or by a profile :  produce (as by drawing, writing, or graphing) a profile of

  3. 2 :  to shape the outline of by passing a cutter around

  4. 3 :  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


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February 13, 2016

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