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 Clarifying butter is the process of removing the water and milk solids from butter, leaving you with almost 100% butterfat. Charlyne Mattox, Country Living, "5 Types of Butter to Keep in Your Kitchen," 6 Jan. 2020 And all of that ice was falling into the oceans and raising sea levels in the process. Jon Gertner, Scientific American, "How a New Wave of Orbiting Sentinels Is Changing Climate Science," 6 Jan. 2020 Our interventions have been entirely counterproductive to the goal of making Americans safer and have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people in the process. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "The Democrats’ Gutless Response to Trump’s Airstrike," 3 Jan. 2020 Getting drafted was just the first step in the process. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, "Players recall fondly how David Stern always shared in their biggest moments," 2 Jan. 2020 Unlike his first two head coach searches, Haslam was confident in the process last year, when the Browns interviewed a good pool of candidates and almost settled on Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland, "Jimmy Haslam: ‘There’s no guarantee’ Browns will get it right on coach/GM ‘but we’re more determined than ever’; ownership will make the call," 2 Jan. 2020 The central pollution control board and the University of Minnesota are involved in the process. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "Delhi gets its first smog tower to tackle air pollution," 2 Jan. 2020 Doctors say the process of getting credentialed to see patients at an IHS facility, even on a volunteer basis, is cumbersome and flawed. Anna Wilde Mathews, WSJ, "Rx for Ailing Indian Health Service: Changes in Spending, Recruitment," 31 Dec. 2019 Little Bay Islands considered resettlement for nearly a decade in a process that pit neighbor against neighbor, generation against generation — and illustrated how informal coercion can be necessary for the program to work. Washington Post, "The people of this remote Canadian island village are taking government money to clear out. One couple is staying.," 31 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Underpinning companies like Megvii and SenseTime is a sprawling digital infrastructure through which data are collected, cleaned and labelled before being processed into the machine-learning software that makes face recognition tick. The Economist, "China’s success at AI has relied on good data," 2 Jan. 2020 According to studies, humans are 60,000 times faster at processing visual information than text. Mary Widdicks, Quartz, "The visual language of comic books can improve brain function," 2 Jan. 2020 The authorities say that in the early years of processing the deluge of water flowing through the reactors, Tepco did not change filters in the decontamination system frequently enough. New York Times, "Japan Wants to Dump Nuclear Plant’s Tainted Water. Fishermen Fear the Worst.," 23 Dec. 2019 That's thanks to implementation of an enrollment management system that recruits more aggressively and is better at processing student aid applications, Drale said. Emily Walkenhorst, Arkansas Online, "Cutbacks at UALR in future," 23 Nov. 2019 Once a decision has been reached by majority vote, the lead administrator responsible for processing the case will inform UW officials of the outcome. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Micah Potter and UW officials are set to speak with NCAA on Thursday regarding his eligibility," 20 Nov. 2019 Progress has been hindered by a lack of computer tools for processing these images, Pedersen says, adding that Sea-thru is a step in the right direction. Erik Olsen, Scientific American, "“Sea-thru” Brings Clarity to Underwater Photos," 14 Nov. 2019 Here are 10 tools that can help hunters process their deer into tasty, healthy venison for their families. The Editors, Outdoor Life, "10 Things You Need To Get Your Deer From The Woods To The Dinner Table," 11 Nov. 2019 In September, The Post exposed exorbitant charges for processing open records requests. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Retain those emails, governor; The deportation of Ms. Estrada; There will be consequences (11/5/19)," 5 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 This is a XML Sitemap which is supposed to be processed by search engines which follow the XML Sitemap standard like, Bing, Google and Yahoo. ArsTechnica, "XML Sitemap," 8 Jan. 2020 Those who weren’t quick enough were herded into police vans, sirens blaring, and carted away to be processed. Tommy Trenchard, Harper's magazine, "Oceans Apart," 6 Jan. 2020 The threat against such sites was clear this past summer, when a drone and missile attack left two oil-processing facilities in Saudi Arabia smoldering and temporarily halved the kingdom’s oil production. Ben Hubbard,, "US allies in Mideast fear they may pay a price for Soleimani killing," 5 Jan. 2020 It was aimed at a barbaric plan to dump waste from a paper-processing plant on the shores of Lake Baikal into the river which supplied the city’s water. The Economist, "Siberia is an empty land filled with contradictions," 21 Dec. 2019 Once one of Dean Foods’ most important customers, Walmart opened its own milk-processing plant in 2018. David Yaffe-bellany, New York Times, "A Milk Giant Goes Broke as Americans Reject Old Staples," 13 Nov. 2019 Fast forward 113 years and the building, lowered by two stories and converted into a grain-processing plant in the 1930s, has been lovingly restored at a cost of $15 million. Brian E. Clark, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Madison's century-old 'Sugar Castle' has found new life as a food hall," 8 Nov. 2019 Today, all of the restaurants are within a 300-mile radius of the Tuttle farm — the site of its bakery and milk-processing plant — so the milk and ice cream can be delivered fresh. Los Angeles Times, "Braum’s is the best burger joint. You’ll wish you were here," 23 Oct. 2019 But with a cataloging of his business interests—a delicatessen, fox farm, slaughterhouse, and meat-processing plant—his fate seems all but sealed. Rachel Riederer, The New Republic, "Olga Tokarczuk’s Gripping Eco-Mystery," 10 Oct. 2019

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

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Process.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 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

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 insert between existing elements

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