pro·​cess | \ ˈprä-ˌses How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprō-, -səs How to pronounce process (audio) \
plural processes\ ˈprä-​ˌse-​səz How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprō-​ , -​sə-​ , -​ˌsēz How to pronounce process (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 The identification of a final victim marks the conclusion to one step of a rescue-and-recovery process that was the largest non-hurricane disaster response in Florida’s history. Washington Post, 27 July 2021 The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency made the standards official by publishing them in the State Register on Monday following a contentious process. Steve Karnowski, Star Tribune, 26 July 2021 The more sweeping bill is set to include the president's plans for health care, child care, education and climate and will be passed using a process called budget reconciliation, allowing it to be approved by the Senate with only Democratic support. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 26 July 2021 Often, real estate and architectural experts say, the bureaucratic processes are too difficult and the conversions are too costly, and many developers and property owners would rather wait out the pandemic than begin a yearslong process. NBC News, 25 July 2021 The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, recently began a review of Medicare coverage of Aduhelm, a process expected to take about nine months., 24 July 2021 After a certain period of fermentation, the materials go through a refinery process where PHA are dehydrated and aggregated before being made into long strands of liquid plastic, which later dries up into solid biodegradable plastic materials. Joohee Cho And, ABC News, 24 July 2021 The next step in a potential process would be OU and Texas communicating their plans to the Big 12 before formally expressing interest to the SEC. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 23 July 2021 The Watchdog examined one to study a process used to deny claims. Dave Lieber, Dallas News, 23 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Not just because extraction companies are aggressively surveying the state’s landscapes for opportunities to mine and process the materials. Los Angeles Times, 21 July 2021 Weather is more than incidental to art, especially in the past few centuries, as scientists, poets and painters have squabbled over how best to process and make sense of the natural world. Washington Post, 16 July 2021 There are different ways to take and process images for facial recognition. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, 16 July 2021 Illinois lets licensed marijuana businesses buy or process certain hemp products, including CBD oils. Sophie Quinton, Anchorage Daily News, 12 July 2021 Turning to their scientific framework, the question, the students said, was how to honor their friend and process their grief. Clare Proctor, The Indianapolis Star, 8 July 2021 To experience and accept life's ups and downs is challenging, but a reality that all of us have no choice but to receive and process. Benjamin Vanhoose,, 21 June 2021 Create a mobile trailer for do-it-yourself recycling of plastics, including tools to process and shred plastic and turn it into new products. Rebecca Lurye,, 21 June 2021 The reporting and data tools that process the contacts and generate reports for tracing purposes were developed by the company. John Mccormick, WSJ, 21 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective This may have positioned several large cities that chose to pre-process ballots to deliver election results earlier than expected. Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press, 4 Nov. 2020 State Democrats and Republicans both agree that local election workers should be allowed to pre-process ballots early. Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY, 22 Oct. 2020 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, 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, 11 Feb. 2020 Knowing that people process things differently and that's OK. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, 13 Sep. 2019 The Google Assistant, for example, can already now process multiple requests at once. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, 2 Jan. 2018 People process things differently and at different rates. Richard Asa,, 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, 26 July 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the statement, Durojaye says that studying non-Western cultures can help scientists understand how humans process music and speech. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 July 2021 Signs posted on a drive-up window outside City Hall told residents the city couldn’t process water bill payments but cutoffs would be delayed. Jake Bleiberg And Eric Tucker, Chron, 26 July 2021 The recommendations include requiring states to stop mailing paper notices about drivers and reviewing how states process electronic and paper conviction notices., 20 July 2021 Combining art and mentors into experiences where children can process their trauma through art activities and trusting relationships. The Arizona Republic, 20 July 2021 The documentary is ultimately about how comedians – like the rest of us – are trying to process the grief and isolation of the last year, offering an intimate and frequently moving snapshot of pandemic life. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, 20 June 2021 Having now figured out a way to kill the giant monsters using shotguns and high-frequency sounds, Evelyn and her children venture out in search of other survivors, all while caring for a newborn baby and trying to process their grief. Patrick Ryan, USA Today, 28 May 2021 And then there's the emotional aspect of dealing with the anxiety, the depression, and emotions that come with trying to process what happened. Allison Norlian, Forbes, 18 May 2021 Jared Padalecki, guest star Odette Annable) are still trying to process their feelings when Geri’s old flame Hoyt (guest star Matt Barr) comes home from prison. Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near process




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Statistics for process

Last Updated

28 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Process.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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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 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on process

Nglish: Translation of process for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of process for Arabic Speakers


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