pro·​cess | \ ˈprä-ˌses How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprō-, -səs How to pronounce process (audio) \
plural processes\ ˈprä-​ˌse-​səz How to pronounce processes (audio) , ˈprō-​ , -​sə-​ , -​ˌsēz How to pronounce processes (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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Careers and commitments further complicate the process. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Love Life' brings a lightweight 'Sex and the City' vibe to HBO Max," 27 May 2020 Researchers at Electronic Arts—the company behind FIFA, Madden, and other popular games—are testing recent advances in artificial intelligence as a way to speed the development process and make games more lifelike. Will Knight, Wired, "Gamemakers Inject AI to Develop More Lifelike Characters," 27 May 2020 This news is fantastic—other than the part where UV photons are required for the process to work. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "New material releases hydrogen from water at near-perfect efficiency," 27 May 2020 Chemistry students would have mixed more compounds, distilled elements and set up processes with flasks and tubes. Krista Torralva,, "Months without hands-on lab classes will leave San Antonio’s university students playing catch-up," 27 May 2020 Airlines will automate, or de-staff, the pre-flight process as much as possible. Eric Rosen, Travel + Leisure, "How Airports Will Change After Coronavirus, According to Experts," 27 May 2020 The Fiscal Research Division and the budget office produces the forecast before every biennium, which initiates the budget process. Nyamekye Daniel, Washington Examiner, "North Carolina budget writers brace for $5B shortfall," 27 May 2020 The process repeats after the drills before players leave. Scott Springer,, "Most schools proceed slowly after Ohio athletic no-contact period lifted," 26 May 2020 The desire to be governed by myself, or, at any rate, to participate in the process by which my life is to be controlled, may be as deep a wish as that of a free area for action, and perhaps historically older. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Spitting on Other People," 26 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Authorities will have 17 drive-through, walk-through, and even cycle-through test stations, which should have everyone processed by the end of July., "Spike in South Korea virus cases shows perils of reopening," 28 May 2020 That’s because the waste is processed at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which destroys any incidental strains of the virus in the waste stream. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, "As testing ramps up, Indianapolis incinerator proves safe place to dispose of pandemic waste," 28 May 2020 As many corporate bosses have learned the hard way, the best technology is not worth much without the right processes to use it. The Economist, "AI manoeuvres Business lessons from the Pentagon," 28 May 2020 The timing of checks for those who filed paper returns last year is being complicated by the IRS’ decision to stop processing paper returns due to COVID-19. Canton Repository,, "Your coronavirus money questions, answered," 27 May 2020 The cards are being sent to residents without bank information on file with the IRS and who had their tax return processed by the Andover or Austin IRS Service Center, per the release. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Don't throw away that debit card you got in the mail. It may be your stimulus payment," 26 May 2020 Though not processing quite as many tests as the record-setting numbers of late last week, labs across the state ran 7,774 tests between Monday and Tuesday. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Live coronavirus updates: Nearly half of inmates tested in Waupun are positive for virus," 26 May 2020 The United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which represents those who handle about 75 percent of the beef and pork processed in the United States, says that at least 10,000 workers have so far contracted the virus — and at least 35 have died. Washington Post, "A deadly ‘checkerboard’: Covid-19′s new surge across rural America," 24 May 2020 Among them: Workers are forced to slaughter and process animals at breakneck speeds. USA Today, "Cheap chicken, beef came at a cost. How American meat plants bred coronavirus hot spots.," 22 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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, "Bagpipe-blowing fire chief, Bruce Springsteen-Jon Bon Jovi benefit, chickens go to waste: News from around our 50 states," 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, "Do Memes Make the Internet a Better Place?," 11 Feb. 2020 Knowing that people process things differently and that's OK. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, ""Unbelievable" Actor Danielle Macdonald on How the Series Puts an Important Focus on Survivors of Trauma," 13 Sep. 2019 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 The Fulton elections office will start sending emails to voters when their absentee ballots are processed. Mark Niesse, ajc, "Absentee ballot requests go missing in Fulton ahead of Georgia primary," 29 May 2020 All attendees would have to pass a clean health check prior to entering dedicated chute to the Spectrum Arena - where all attendees would then be processed through normal United States Secret Service screening with normal event queue lines. Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY, "2020 Republican convention: RNC sends Gov. Roy Cooper 'safety protocols' for Charlotte event," 29 May 2020 Concentrates — Products made from cannabis that have been processed to keep specific plant compounds (such as THC or terpenes). Samantha Davenport, Anchorage Daily News, "A shopper’s guide to Alaska cannabis: Local strains, edibles, concentrates and more," 28 May 2020 The tests were processed at a private lab in Madison and the large volume apparently led to a delay in getting results, Barrett said. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A third of the coronavirus cases in Wisconsin involve Latino or Hispanic patients," 28 May 2020 That’s because the waste is processed at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which destroys any incidental strains of the virus in the waste stream. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, "As testing ramps up, Indianapolis incinerator proves safe place to dispose of pandemic waste," 28 May 2020 By Tuesday, only around 200 cases were found, mostly people who showed no symptoms, although samples were still being processed., "Wuhan tested 6.5 million for coronavirus in days," 26 May 2020 The victim reported receiving an email in reference to a credit card purchase that had been processed. Houston Chronicle, "Memorial Villages Police Department weekly report," 25 May 2020 Payments may be slow to arrive, but workers will in theory receive back-pay when their claims are finally processed. The Economist, "Daily Chart Many laid-off Americans may get more money than they did in work," 20 May 2020

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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Statistics for process

Last Updated

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Process.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for process


How to pronounce process (audio) How to pronounce process (audio)

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 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

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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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on process

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for process

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with process

Spanish Central: Translation of process

Nglish: Translation of process for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of process for Arabic Speakers

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