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 Gatheru expressed deep gratitude to all the friends, family members, professors and advisers who supported her through the demanding application process, which required eight letters of recommendation. Eliza Fawcett,, "5 things to know about UConn’s first Rhodes Scholar," 26 Nov. 2019 Fox also has a handful of local spots, sold through a different process, that will air during the game., "Fox Sports sold out its inventory of Super Bowl ads, with prices for 30-second spots at television’s biggest annual event going for as much as a record $5.6 million.," 26 Nov. 2019 The new law may simplify the process, allowing police to close down operations without making such an extraordinary effort. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "This new bill will help Wisconsin communities crack down on massage parlor prostitution," 25 Nov. 2019 Spencer then told reporters on Saturday that to end the review process, scheduled to begin Dec. 2, Trump needed to do so with a formal order and not in a tweet. NBC News, "Defense secretary says Trump ordered him to allow SEAL in war crimes case to keep status," 25 Nov. 2019 Perhaps some degree of inner and outer conflict, of bitterness, despair, and indignation at a world so alien to the heart’s desire, is a prerequisite of the creative process, or at least of its deepest and most stirring manifestations. Lillian Symes, Harper's magazine, "San Francisco Blues," 25 Nov. 2019 Follow the impeachment process, focus on the facts, listen carefully to the actual evidence and consider the sources, and hold the president accountable. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Rating the quarterback’s detractors (11/24/19)," 24 Nov. 2019 Universal design is a way of thinking that is integrated into the housing design process, alongside the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, "Letters: Make new buildings on Ford site easily accessible for everyone," 24 Nov. 2019 But keep in mind such rulings often can be during the offseason, when all parties are available to participate in the process, and sometimes even beyond, before such appeals are resolved. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Will the Dion Waiters appeal impact relationship with Heat?," 24 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Quickly, scenes become interspersed with events on the home front, where Younger Alyce learns of her husband’s imprisonment and starts to process the news, with the other three characters playing roles such as that of the officers who notify her. Nicholas M. Gallagher, National Review, "The Vietnam War at the Kentucky Opera," 23 Nov. 2019 Make quick decisions Using artificial intelligence to process huge quantities of raw data is not new. The Conversation, "Chile protests: President’s speeches early in crisis missed the mark, AI study reveals," 21 Nov. 2019 Temperature increases could significantly damage the company’s refining operations, impacting yield and its availability to process crude. Fortune, "Saudi Aramco Has a New Climate Change Challenge: Too Much Water," 21 Nov. 2019 Unlike sound and touch, smell is processed in an area of the brain that has a direct connection to the amygdala, which plays a role in emotional memories. Michelle Lee, Allure, "The Beautiful and Nostalgic Power of Scent," 21 Nov. 2019 And this small, private college — located an hour due west of Ann Arbor — is still grieving, still hurting, still trying to process this loss. Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press, "Zachary Winston's death and the lessons that came from it," 17 Nov. 2019 The rest of her teammates solemnly walked toward the far left corner of the Montgomery Blair High School field, still trying to process how their season came to a close in the blink of an eye. Justin Fitzgerald,, "Girls Soccer: ‘Goalie’s worst nightmare’ come true for Century in state semifinal heartbreaker," 9 Nov. 2019 This also allowed them to quickly process multiple variations of their question. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "It keeps going: 1 meter sea-level rise by 2300 is now inevitable," 7 Nov. 2019 Astros supporters may still be trying to process Jose Altuve's dramatic two-run walk-off home run Saturday night. Peter Dawson, Houston Chronicle, "The unofficial World Series drinking game for Astros-Nationals," 22 Oct. 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 Most medical experts will tell you that weight loss and maintenance is about making a personal food-intake change, whether that’s decreasing portion sizes or cutting out super processed food and added sugar. Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, "Real Talk: No Workout Is Going to Undo Your Thanksgiving Dinner," 26 Nov. 2019 Since 2015, REI Co-op has been encouraging people to skip shopping (by closing its stores and not processing online orders, but still paying employees) and instead Opt Outside on Black Friday. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Opt Outside on Black Friday in Wisconsin at cleanup events and with free entrance to some county parks," 21 Nov. 2019 Reindeer meat by law must be processed by licensed slaughterhouses run by competing beef farmers, who leave the reindeer outside, losing weight, and then are slow to distribute or market the meat, depressing the value the Sami receive. Juliana Hanle, Scientific American, "The Fight for the Reindeer," 18 Nov. 2019 What is produced will be for export to companies around the world, where it will be processed into cannabis products. Emma Vickers, Quartz Africa, "The small African kingdom that’s perfect for growing cannabis, but maybe not for regulating it," 9 Nov. 2019 Another factor will be a decision by the Florida Supreme Court on the state’s mandate that licensed operators must grow, process and sell cannabis products. Marcia Heroux Pounds,, "Florida forecast to be a top state for legal cannabis sales growth, new report says," 1 Nov. 2019 After the grapes have been picked, the vineyard needs power to process them and irrigate. Ivan Penn, New York Times, "California Endures More Blackouts; PG&E Tower Gets Scrutiny in Fire," 24 Oct. 2019 The checks and applications were turned over to a licensing and application specialist who is supposed to process the application and turn the check over to a processing technician for deposit. Dave Altimari,, "Audit of state Department of Agriculture discovers more than $250K in uncashed checks locked in safe," 9 Oct. 2019 After they’ve been processed, the bricks will be divvied up among nonprofits and charitable organizations. Wired, "Now It’s a Snap to Donate Your Old Lego Bricks," 8 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

29 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Process.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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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).


very cautious or careful

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