pro·cess | \ˈprä-ˌses, ˈprō-, -səs \
plural processes\ˈprä-ˌse-səz, ˈprō-, -sə-, -ˌsēz \

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 \
processed; processing; processes

Definition of process (Entry 4 of 4)

intransitive verb

chiefly British

: to move in a procession

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of process in a Sentence


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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Russians also created bitcoins themselves through the process known as mining, the indictment said., "How Russian spies hid behind bitcoin in hacking campaign," 14 July 2018 The Army wants to move faster from prototypes, to testing, to evaluation and, if necessary, modify and repeat the whole process. Meghan Bobrowsky,, "Philadelphia loses out to Austin in bid for new Army Futures Command center," 13 July 2018 Next year, the process probably will repeat itself. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "Here’s what’s eating your currant bushes and ‘spitting’ on your wild roses," 13 July 2018 Potential new customers have to go through an email process with the head office to see if the mane man can squeeze you in at his eponymous salon in London’s cool Fitzrovia., "Meghan Markle Has a New Hairdresser in Her Glam Squad and His Signature Look Is 'Perfect for Her'," 12 July 2018 The report recommends increasing education to improve financial literacy, streamlining the mortgage process, and expanding the scope of credit evaluations to include rent and utility payments as possible ways to increase millennial homeownership. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Why aren’t millennials buying houses?," 11 July 2018 Phoenix police Detective Marianne Ramirez explains the process of reporting a person missing, and describes common misconceptions and important details to be aware of during the situation. Angela Forburger, azcentral, "Mesa man who went missing found safe," 13 July 2018 For many incoming high school seniors and their families, this summer starts the whirlwind process of choosing a college. Jim Troha, Washington Post, "Value matters in choosing a college. But not just the price kind.," 13 July 2018 Creator’s bot automates the whole process of preparing a burger. The Economist, "The rise of the robochef," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Lilis also signed on with the Salt Creek Midstream system under construction to process the oil and funnel it to the main pipeline arteries such as EPIC. Jordan Blum, San Antonio Express-News, "Lilis may be an acquisition target," 13 July 2018 These men — Gerard Sweeney, Michael Reich, and Frank Bolz — have a law firm that has earned millions in Surrogate’s Court, where the estates of people who die without wills are processed, and from representing banks foreclosing on people’s homes. Danielle Tcholakian, Longreads, "An Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Reading List," 10 July 2018 To process and sort the materials, Tacoma uses Waste Management's JMK Fibers MRF, which has increased its prices to meet China's lower contamination rate for acceptable material. Author: David Goldstein, Anchorage Daily News, "Cities scramble to rewrite rules on recycling after China restricts ‘foreign garbage’," 3 July 2018 The most radical part of the GEOINT App Store from a government perspective is the speed with which NGA can process apps and get them live in the store. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "The DoD’s App Store Does This One Crucial Thing to Stay Secure," 3 July 2018 In a six-story former factory, EIP will create banks of servers to process and store data for a wide range of businesses, company spokesman Mark Wick said. Don Stacom, Courant Community, "Gov. Malloy: Data Center On Stanley Works Site Could Create 2,500 Jobs," 2 July 2018 In Tucson, where many of the migrants crossing through Arizona are processed and held, Casa Alitas stepped in to help families. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Respite centers for migrants preparing for possibility of indefinite detention," 2 July 2018 The researchers studied 28 years of data from the United Nations' Comtrade database to measure exports of plastics to China, which processed much of the waste and turned it into new products. NBC News, "With China saying no to plastic waste, the world needs a new plan," 25 June 2018 Parcels are more costly to process and deliver than envelopes. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Trump’s Fix for Postal Service: Privatize It," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The Google Assistant, for example, can already now process multiple requests at once. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "5G to AR: Here are 7 technologies to watch in 2018," 2 Jan. 2018 People process things differently and at different rates. Richard Asa,, "When your ex finds someone new," 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, "Does Listening to Music Improve Your Focus?," 26 July 2017 Process garlic and shallots until finely chopped, then stir into tomato mixture. Jill Wendholt Silva, kansascity, "Five easy (and, shhh, healthy) recipes for the Fourth," 3 July 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

About 30 percent of all household materials discarded in recycling bins in Florida are actually not recyclable at curbside and clog machinery at processing centers, state statistics show. Stephen Hudak,, "Orange County peering into recycling bins to check for no-nos like greasy pizza boxes, plastic bags," 28 June 2018 Fields found the market around 2012 and bought it off a former owner and his son, who'd started processing caviar about five years before. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky is swimming with potential to take over the US caviar market," 28 June 2018 Irlande Germain is project manager for Tellus LLC, a provider of mobile care delivery, Electronic Visit Verification (eVV) and claims processing technology designed for the Home Health and Long-Term Care Markets, in Deerfield Beach. Cindy Kent,, "Career Spotlight: Irlande Germain, career building, one project at a time," 22 June 2018 Updating these tables takes geometrically increasing amounts of processing power as the number of nodes increases. The Economist, "A new type of battlefield network is in development," 14 June 2018 The company, anticipating further demand growth, last month decided to build a third LNG processing unit at its second export hub now under construction in Corpus Christi. Katherine Blunt, Houston Chronicle, "Global LNG trade rises alongside U.S. production," 11 June 2018 Election Night is over in San Francisco, but the Department of Elections’ ballot-processing efforts are still well under way. Dominic Fracassa, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF mayor’s race: There’s still 90k ballots to count. Leno has 1,146-vote lead," 6 June 2018 Because majority of the illnesses came from prepackaged vegetables that have been passed on from suppliers to distributors to processing facilities where they were chopped and bagged, finding out where they were grown is far more cumbersome. The Washington Post,, "Five dead, nearly 200 sick in E. coli outbreak from lettuce. And investigators are stumped.," 3 June 2018 The revelations about her background come as the office has faced other criticisms over a backlog processing autopsy reports and its handling of infant deaths. Matt Stout,, "Chief of staff in medical examiner’s office demoted amid questions about degree," 1 June 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about process

Statistics for process

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for process

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for process



English Language Learners Definition of process

: a series of actions that produce something or that lead to a particular result

: a series of changes that happen naturally

medical : something that sticks out of something else


pro·cess | \ˈprä-ˌses, 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, ˈprōs-, -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

Keep scrolling for more


pro·cess | \ˈprä-ˌses, ˈprō- \

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

2a : procedure sense 1 — see also abuse of process, due process

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on process

What made you want to look up process? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!