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

course, operation, procedure, proceeding

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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 idea: to help bartenders express their intention to abstain from drinking to their co-workers and to their customers — and to keep them honest in the process. Shanna Farrell,, "If you see your bartender wearing this pin, it means they aren’t drinking," 9 July 2019 Months before his Premier League debut, Elliott made his first ever appearance in the Carabao Cup at 15 years and 174 days old, becoming Fulham's youngest ever player and the youngest player to appear in the League Cup in the process., "Harvey Elliott: 6 Things to Know About Premier League Record Breaker Set for Liverpool," 8 July 2019 Vox Machina Origins II, meanwhile, sees the team search for their missing member, Grog Strongjaw — only to discover more about his hidden history in the process. Graeme Mcmillan, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Critical Role': Inside the Comic Spinoff 'Vox Machina Origins II'," 8 July 2019 In other words, leaving the course and re-entering farther along, perhaps using other transportation in the process. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "A 70-year-old L.A. marathoner hounded by cheating allegations is found dead in a river," 8 July 2019 In the process, the Clippers cleared enough cap space to sign Kawhi and acquired enough future draft picks and young talent to pull off the trade for George. Robby General, Indianapolis Star, "What experts are saying about Kawhi Leonard, Paul George joining the Los Angeles Clippers," 6 July 2019 Grab a few and sit down with the young ones in your life to help them learn to read while discovering Alaska in the process. David James, Anchorage Daily News, "These books will keep kids reading this summer - and discovering Alaska in the process," 6 July 2019 However, Hopper miraculously won, throwing the Terminator into the machine's rays, seemingly killing him in the process. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "What Happens to Hopper at the End of Stranger Things Season 3?," 5 July 2019 Just as bogus stem cell clinics profit off the potential of regenerative medicine research (and blinding people in the process), probiotic makers are exploiting excitement over the microbiome and getting ahead of the data. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "New York Times falls for “obesity probiotic” hype," 5 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Refunds will be processed on, or before, Friday, July 12th. Kevin Slane,, "Gillette Stadium music festival suddenly canceled," 10 July 2019 Digital money like bitcoin, which can process peer-to-peer transactions outside the financial system, can provide some degree of privacy, but these systems generally haven’t caught on with consumers for making payments. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "Dutch regulator says banks shouldn’t snoop on customer payments to churches, casinos, or sex clubs," 10 July 2019 He was processed and released by West Orange Police Department the same evening and was not taken to county jail. Eric Todisco,, "Charges Against Wendy Williams’ Son Kevin Jr. Dropped After He Allegedly Assaulted His Father," 9 July 2019 The franks are minimally processed and flavored with a handful of spices. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Smoked turkey franks keep processing to a minimum," 9 July 2019 Crime scene personnel processed the area and located forensic evidence. Houston Chronicle, "Memorial Villages Police Department weekly report," 8 July 2019 After they are apprehended, migrants are processed in facilities run by the Customs and Border Patrol. The Economist, "What caused the shameful scenes at America’s southern border?," 6 July 2019 By absorbing runoff, harmful chemicals, such as nitrate and phosphorous, are able to be processed to create cleaner water. Molly Korzenowski, Twin Cities, "Minnesota Zoo to release 400 endangered Dakota skipper butterflies," 6 July 2019 The migrants inside the trailer were processed for immigration violations, according to CBP. Rocky Baier, azcentral, "33 undocumented migrants found hiding in trailer at I-19 Border Patrol checkpoint," 3 July 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

Authorities have recently rushed to process children out of detention in response to a public outcry and demands from Democratic lawmakers and a federal judge that conditions be quickly improved. Alicia A. Caldwell, WSJ, "Federal Agencies Trade Blame Over Detention of Migrant Children," 12 July 2019 Apollo astronauts brought special 70mm cameras with Zeiss lenses and super-thin Kodak film, which was later processed in Rochester, New York, the site of Kodak’s headquarters. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "On Apollo 11's 50th anniversary, a new exhibition at the Met explores the moon's place in our cultural imagination.," 10 July 2019 This is because of how these molecules are processed in the body. Jamie Pitlick, Quartzy, "The best and worst sugar substitutes for your health," 3 July 2019 In a way, the Saints want Lattimore to quickly process this information in order to correctly predict the future of a play. Luke Johnson,, "How does Saints corner Marshon Lattimore take the next step?," 28 June 2019 Crude oil distillation capacity rates are based on an operator's estimate of the input that a distillation unit can process in a 24-hour period under usual operating conditions, recognizing the effects of both planned and unplanned maintenance. Marissa Luck, Houston Chronicle, "American refineries reach record capacity rates," 27 June 2019 Simultaneously, the European Union’s ban on the importation of horse meat processed in Mexico has diminished demand. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Reform or extinction? Many see horse slaughter as existential threat to racing," 15 June 2019 The fund began processing claims again in 2011 and was most recently renewed in 2015. Michael Gold, New York Times, "How Jon Stewart Became a Fierce Advocate for 9/11 Responders," 12 June 2019 But in a stadium, disposable food containers and wrappers, even those containing uneaten food, can be gathered in one place, and all of the waste can be processed in an industrial composter. Laura Parker, National Geographic, "Biodegradable shopping bags buried for three years still work," 28 Apr. 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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Statistics for process

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

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 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

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

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