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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for process

Synonyms: Noun

course, operation, procedure, proceeding

Visit the Thesaurus 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

One part of the vetting process includes a machine that shoots water pressurized at 3 PSI at the fabric to check for seam sureness and waterproofing. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Everything That Goes Into Making an Arc'teryx Jacket," 24 May 2019 Rihanna also adores the technical aspects of the design process. Teen Vogue, "See Every Look From Rihanna’s Debut Fenty Collection," 23 May 2019 This kind of thought process opens the door for experimentation on your own. Gigi Engle, SELF, "The Case for Telling Your Partner Exactly How You Want to Feel During Sex," 8 May 2019 Wells Fargo representatives also called people close to Ms. Murray as part of that process. Rob Copeland, WSJ, "Bridgewater Co-CEO Eileen Murray Weighs Leaving World’s Largest Hedge Fund," 6 May 2019 Of course, Allen also added Olaplex into every step of the process to keep her client's strands strong. Elizabeth Denton, Allure, "Chardonnay Blonde Is Our New Favorite Hair-Color Trend (For Obvious Reasons)," 3 May 2019 All of this requires an understanding of each step of the process and how to adjust accordingly if one factor isn’t optimal. Annemarie Conte, Woman's Day, "What We Learned After Baking Nothing But Bread for 3 Days," 9 Apr. 2019 Matching up shells is one of our favorite parts of the process. Minna Shim, Harper's BAZAAR, "Introducing the Mother-Daughter Duo Behind Buzzy Jewelry Brand Brinker & Eliza," 9 Apr. 2019 Of course, Dan understands that not seeing eye-to-eye is all part of the process, and what makes the show so great in the end. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "5 Ways ‘This Is Us’ Was Almost Totally Different, According to Dan Fogelman," 19 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That’s a lot of inspiration and information, and there are many ways to process it. Vogue, "12 Styling Tips to Try Now—Inspired by Fall Street Style," 28 Mar. 2019 London’s Heathrow Airport recently asked two of its largest coffee chains to scrap their compostable cups after discovering the company that collects the airport’s food waste couldn’t process them. Saabira Chaudhuri, WSJ, "Compostables, Meant to Cut Plastic Waste, Are Stumbling," 22 Jan. 2019 That process isn’t absolutely zero-impact, but that must be taken in the context of the effects of mining new bauxite ore, which then still has to be processed into aluminum. Stacey Mckenna,, "Recycling is easier — and better for the environment — than you think," 5 July 2018 The Propel card will continue to be processed on American Express Co.’s network. Hannah Levitt,, "Wells Fargo Targets Credit-Card Reward Addicts," 25 June 2018 This represents a major shift in the way AI can help humans process massive amounts of data that otherwise couldn’t be analyzed, Ms. Wetmur said. Sara Castellanos, WSJ, "Morgan Stanley Center of Excellence Readies Bank for AI’s Data Demands," 22 Apr. 2019 In the same blog, Bini condemned Amazon for knocking WikiLeaks off its hosting services and credit card companies and PayPal for refusing to process payments to the secret-spilling site. Frank Bajak, The Seattle Times, "Ace Swedish coder held by Ecuador was defender of Assange," 14 Apr. 2019 Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase helps process amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Tara C. Smith, SELF, "Why You Don't Actually Need to Test for MTHFR Gene Variants," 18 Mar. 2019 Probiotics are meant to encourage diversity in the microbiota populating the intestine, which helps to process the nutrients in food. Mackenzie Wagoner, Vogue, "What’s the Best Way to Cleanse? A Guide to Detoxing in 2019," 1 Jan. 2019

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

Detectives processed the crime scene and questioned neighbors but continued on Wednesday to look for potential witnesses who could identify the shooter at the Southampton Condominiums. Wayne K. Roustan,, "Cops hunt killer after man, 60, is shot dead in his home," 12 June 2019 An in-depth look inside the asylum processing center in the basement of the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Julia Wick,, "Essential California: Golden State Killer case's twisted, painful path," 11 June 2019 That tissue is then taken to Vericel’s cell-processing lab in Cambridge, where the cells are cultured in flasks and then placed on a matchbook-size collagen membrane at a density of at least half-a-million cells per square centimeter. Jonathan Saltzman,, "Fast-growing Vericel finds success on two fronts: knee surgery and burn care," 11 June 2019 Now, after the purported policy change, H-4 visa and work permit applications are being processed separately from the H-1B, the suit alleged. Ethan Baron, The Mercury News, "H-1B visa: Government unlawfully delaying H-4 applications, lawsuit claims," 11 June 2019 The old bayfront is crowded with saltwater-taffy stores, custom T-shirt shops, and rows of noisy taverns across the road from a loud and pungent fish-processing plant. Sallie Tisdale, Harper's magazine, "Catechism of the Waters," 10 June 2019 Iowa, with 42 corn-processing plants across the state, leads the nation in ethanol production, creating nearly 30% of all U.S. ethanol. Henry Goldman, Fortune, "Will Bill de Blasio's Backing a NYC Fur Ban Harm His Presidential Bid?," 5 June 2019 The Mongolian Genco owned a nightclub, a taxi service, a lottery and a meat-processing plant, among other things. Ian Macdougall, Propublica, ProPublica, "The Country That Exiled McKinsey," 14 May 2019 The other cast are dead silent, processing the iconic death. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "How the ‘Game of Thrones’ Cast Reacted to Their Own Deaths," 27 May 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.

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

31 May 2019

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 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

Keep scrolling for more


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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on process

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with process

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


a device or gadget

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!