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

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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
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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

Argus Media reported that the Commerce Department is working through a backlog of more than 20,000 requests for exclusion from the tariff, of which it has only processed 241. James Osborne, Houston Chronicle, "Oil companies struggle to navigate Trump on steel tariffs," 13 July 2018 That is, until researchers discovered ancient whale bones within the ruins of a fish-processing site in the ancient Roman city of Baelo Claudia, near today’s Tarifa, Spain. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Scientists admit Pliny the Elder was right about orcas and whales.," 11 July 2018 Caremark operates in Kentucky as a pharmacy benefit manager, acting as a middleman in processing prescription drug claims pharmacists file seeking reimbursement from health plans including Medicaid. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, "State hits CVS pharmacy benefit company with $1.5 million fine," 9 July 2018 The most serious infractions revealed in the audit include plants that exceed the volume and quality of fish-processing effluent discharged to open water allowed under the permits. Anchorage Daily News, "Audit finds 70 percent of British Columbia fish-processing plants do not comply with environmental regulations," 8 July 2018 Something about using my body as a machine to get from one place to the next has helped me process all the things going on in the world. Stella Bugbee, The Cut, "July, Ride On," 2 July 2018 The Athletics challenged the play, and commentators tried to process what just happened. Charlotte Carroll,, "Watch: Astros Win on One of the Weirdest Walk-Offs in Baseball History," 11 July 2018 With that the preacher outlined how the island would process the tragedy. Earl Swift, Outside Online, "The Incredible True Story of the Henrietta C.," 20 June 2018 For a moment, her splayed curls and panic turns her into a black tableau vivant of Caravaggio’s Medusa, and everyone else has frozen accordingly, staring up at her, trying to process what the hell is happening. Allison P. Davis, The Cut, "Everybody Loves New York," 31 May 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

The algorithms can process much more paperwork than humans in a fraction of the time. The Economist, "Law firms climb aboard the AI wagon," 12 July 2018 The gun is being processed for forensic evidence as part of a continuing investigation, according to police. Megan Jones, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora man charged with fleeing police after crashing car," 7 July 2018 The idea is that instead of having sensors and gadgets upload all of their data directly to the cloud, some data would be processed either on those devices themselves, or on nearby servers before being uploaded to the cloud. Klint Finley, WIRED, "Dell Is Ready to Go Public Again. But Has it Really Changed?," 2 July 2018 Starting Saturday, international travelers, beginning with passengers arriving from a Japan Airlines flight out of Tokyo, will be processed through San Diego’s modernized 130,000 square-foot arrivals facility. Jennifer Van Grove,, "Facial recognition tech speeds up customs at new San Diego airport facility," 28 June 2018 Since adults are a higher deportation priority than children, their cases are usually processed more quickly. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Administration Still Has No Plan for Reuniting the Families It Separated," 22 June 2018 Prior to this policy change, anyone attempting to cross the border illegally was processed, detained, and sent back home. Stacey Leasca, Glamour, "Here Are the Facts About Trump’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ Immigration Policy," 19 June 2018 When granted, the app processes audio snippets in an attempt to identify public venues that broadcast soccer games without a license. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "This app in Google Play wants to use phone mics to enforce copyrights," 12 June 2018 Cacaro's company processed payroll and issued insurance premium payments on behalf of his client employers. Sarah Brookbank,, "Feds: West Chester man bought a motorhome and Florida house with money laundering proceeds," 5 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.

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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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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

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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

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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.

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