pro·​cess | \ ˈprä-ˌses How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprō-, -səs How to pronounce process (audio) \
plural processes\ ˈprä-​ˌse-​səz How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprō-​ , -​sə-​ , -​ˌsēz How to pronounce process (audio) \

Definition of process

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : progress, advance in the process of time
b : something going on : proceeding
2a(1) : a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result the process of growth
(2) : a continuing natural or biological activity or function such life processes as breathing
b : a series of actions or operations conducing to an end especially : a continuous operation or treatment especially in manufacture
3a : the whole course of proceedings in a legal action
b : the summons, mandate, or writ used by a court to compel the appearance of the defendant in a legal action or compliance with its orders
4 : a prominent or projecting part of an organism or organic structure a bone process a nerve cell process


verb (1)
processed; processing; processes

Definition of process (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to proceed against by law : prosecute
b(1) : to take out a summons against
(2) : to serve a summons on
2a : to subject to a special process or treatment (as in the course of manufacture or film development)
b(1) : to subject to or handle through an established usually routine set of procedures process insurance claims
(2) : to integrate sensory information received so that an action or response is generated the brain processes visual images relayed from the retina
(3) : to subject to examination or analysis computers process data
c : to work (hair) into a conk



Definition of process (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : treated or made by a special process especially when involving synthesis or artificial modification
2 : made by or used in a mechanical or photomechanical duplicating process
3 : of or involving illusory effects usually introduced during processing of the film


verb (2)
pro·​cess | \ prə-ˈses How to pronounce process (audio) \
processed; processing; processes

Definition of process (Entry 4 of 4)

intransitive verb

chiefly British
: to move in a procession

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Synonyms for process

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of process in a Sentence

Noun How does the election process work? Learning a foreign language can be a long process. We're remodeling our house. The whole process is expected to take a few months. Breathing and the circulation of blood are life processes. a bony process on the foot
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As part of the process mandated by the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducts five-year status reviews of 35 endangered or threatened fish, wildlife and plants. Kayley Fraze, San Antonio Express-News, 15 May 2022 Throughout the year, Abraham Lake, also the largest reservoir in the province, emits methane gas when bacteria feed on decaying plants as part of a natural biological process. Kathleen Rellihan, Outside Online, 14 May 2022 But, of course, that was not her getting ready process. Sarah Spellings, Vogue, 13 May 2022 Kate Klonick, a legal scholar whose work has informed many discussions about content moderation, argued that Twitter’s current norms and rules were, like the wings of birds, the result of an evolutionary process that has balanced competing demands. Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker, 13 May 2022 Along with other legislative districts in San Diego County and across the state, the 40th was recently redrawn as part of the redistricting process following the 2020 census. Joe Tash, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 May 2022 Special Olympics International is in charge of the athlete selection process. Kate Santich, Orlando Sentinel, 13 May 2022 Notably, these upgrades happen in place instead of the traditional time-consuming migration process of upgrading storage. Patrick Moorhead, Forbes, 13 May 2022 Most of the profit on gas is made way back at the beginning of the process by oil companies that do the drilling and exploration. Martha C. White, NBC News, 12 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Such data was more timely than death certificates, which can take weeks to fill out and process. Mike Stobbe, ajc, 16 May 2022 Alex Peterson, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department for Labor and Industry, acknowledged the state initially lacked the staff to process a historic surge in applications for benefits. Tony Romm And Yeganeh Torbati, Anchorage Daily News, 15 May 2022 Allow yourself some time to take it all in and process what is happening. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 14 May 2022 As word of Medina Leon’s plummet spread, ICE officials moved swiftly to process her parole. Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2022 For many, their first stop was Italy, where migrants live in reception centers while authorities process their claims. Eleanor Paynter, The Conversation, 13 May 2022 Much of the United States’ refining capacity—particularly on the Gulf Coast—was built to process heavier crude, not the lighter kind being produced by fracking in the Permian Basin. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 12 May 2022 The announcement comes months after congressional Democrats urged the Government Accountability Office in a letter to investigate the use of the critical incident teams to process critical incident scenes. Laura Daniella Sepulveda, The Arizona Republic, 8 May 2022 Venediktova said that Ukrainian forensic experts have the capacity to process four to five bodies a day. Lauren Egan, NBC News, 7 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective This may have positioned several large cities that chose to pre-process ballots to deliver election results earlier than expected. Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press, 4 Nov. 2020 State Democrats and Republicans both agree that local election workers should be allowed to pre-process ballots early. Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY, 22 Oct. 2020 The state can’t yet process unemployment claims from independent contractors and the self-employed, even though the federal government has temporarily extended benefits to those workers, St. Louis Public Radio reported. USA TODAY, 15 Apr. 2020 The recent rise of memes seeming to make light of the Wuhan virus or international tensions offers a glimpse into how teenagers learn about and process world events. Nicole Daniels, New York Times, 11 Feb. 2020 Knowing that people process things differently and that's OK. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, 13 Sep. 2019 The Google Assistant, for example, can already now process multiple requests at once. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, 2 Jan. 2018 People process things differently and at different rates. Richard Asa,, 31 Aug. 2017 Around 80% of people process language on the left, or the analytical, side of the brain, Dr. Pantelyat says, and everyone processes music on both sides of the brain. Heidi Mitchell, WSJ, 26 July 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Early on, the bureau elected to process basic population data separately, rather than with housing data as is customary. Michael Wines, New York Times, 29 Apr. 2022 Artificial intelligence empowers new innovative ways of perceiving information in the metaverse by enabling students to learn the material through experience and visuals, which helps process visual data faster and take in more information. Rem Darbinyan, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2022 Henceforth the company, which helps local coffee shops and other small businesses process payments, would be called Block Inc., which brings to mind the main technology underlying cryptocurrencies: blockchain. Declan Harty, Fortune, 14 Apr. 2022 That undertaking is so massive that Tesla is building its own supercomputer and customized semiconductors to process all the data. Washington Post, 14 Apr. 2022 HB288′s main provisions shield existing operations that extract and process sand, gravel and stone. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 Apr. 2022 Preparing lesson plans and teaching different age groups taught her how students think, process information and respond to a variety of teaching styles, Curry said. oregonlive, 10 Apr. 2022 This is a long, convoluted answer, but the awards process completely depends on our membership. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 31 Mar. 2022 Experts have been aware that data shifts — which happen when an algorithm must process data that differ from those used to create and train it — adversely affect algorithmic performance. John D. Halamka, STAT, 20 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'process.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of process


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1888, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1814, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for process


Middle English proces, from Anglo-French procés, from Latin processus, from procedere

Verb (2)

back-formation from procession entry 1

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Time Traveler for process

Time Traveler

The first known use of process was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near process




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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Process.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for process


pro·​cess | \ ˈprä-ˌses How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprō- \

Kids Definition of process

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a series of actions, motions, or operations leading to some result the manufacturing process
2 : a series of changes that occur naturally the growth process


processed; processing

Kids Definition of process (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to change by a special treatment The fruit is picked and processed for shipment.
2 : to take care of according to a routine His job is to process insurance claims.
3 : to take in and organize for use Computers process data.


pro·​cess | \ ˈpräs-ˌes How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprōs- How to pronounce process (audio) , -əs \

Medical Definition of process

1a : a natural progressively continuing operation or development marked by a series of gradual changes that succeed one another in a relatively fixed way and lead toward a particular result or end the process of growth the process of digestion
b : a natural continuing activity or function such life processes as breathing and the circulation of the blood
2 : a prominent or projecting part of an organism or organic structure a bone process a nerve cell process


pro·​cess | \ ˈprä-ˌses, ˈprō- How to pronounce process (audio) \

Legal Definition of process

1 : a continuous operation, art, or method especially in manufacture whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process…may obtain a patent thereforU.S. Code
b : a means (as a summons) used to compel a defendant to appear in court broadly : a means by which a court acquires or exercises jurisdiction over a person or property — see also mesne process — compare notice, service

Note: In civil procedure, service of a summons on a defendant is considered constitutionally sufficient process, although usually a copy of the complaint must also be provided according to the local rule of procedure.

More from Merriam-Webster on process

Nglish: Translation of process for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of process for Arabic Speakers


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