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 Participants have said that getting test results is a slow process, but Liz Galloway of UnCruise said by email that the passenger arrived in Juneau on the day of departure, indicating a three-day turnaround time in this case. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska’s first cruise ship of 2020 returns to port early after passenger tests positive for COVID-19," 5 Aug. 2020 Right now, entering a warrant into a national database is a slow, two-step paper process, said Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland, "Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine unveils e-warrant system, implores lawmakers to pass gun reforms on anniversary of Dayton shooting," 4 Aug. 2020 Returning to growth in other parts of the world will be a fraught process. Carol Ryan, WSJ, "Diageo’s Growth Cocktail Is Weak Outside the U.S.," 4 Aug. 2020 There will be an acclimation process from Aug. 3-16 before full padded practice begins on Aug. 17. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: Adjusting expectations for the Cowboys’ rookies, including the player hurt most by the COVID-shortened camp," 3 Aug. 2020 Refinancing is the process of paying off your existing mortgage with the funds from a new mortgage. Jennifer Yellin, CNN Underscored, "Is it time to refinance your mortgage?," 3 Aug. 2020 The tabulating and certifying will not be a quick process, Benson and others have noted. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Here's how Michigan ensures your absentee ballot is secure," 3 Aug. 2020 Adiabatic evolution is a physical process that aims to capture the evolution of a system that remains in its lowest-energy state at all times while some external parameter varies. Spyridon Michalakis, Scientific American, "How Scientists Solved One of the Greatest Open Questions in Quantum Physics," 1 Aug. 2020 There is no process to apply to participate in the new program. Mike Rogoway | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Oregon says it will offer quicker benefits to ‘tens of thousands’ of unemployed workers waiting for claims adjudication," 31 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That includes a door sizer the size of a small house that can process 26 doors per minute, said Sam Steves, the company’s president and chief operating officer. Madison Iszler,, "San Antonio door maker adding to manufacturing facility," 6 Aug. 2020 The Guy combed the test data as well, and noticed an error that occurred if the GPU didn't process the correct password on the first attempt. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "The Quest to Liberate $300K of Bitcoin From an Old ZIP File," 6 Aug. 2020 Michigan does not allow clerks to process absentee ballots until Election Day. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Ohio Democrats see opportunity on the horizon," 4 Aug. 2020 As millions of business owners like Santiago make the same calculation, payment companies that process online transactions are seeing a boom. Jennifer Surane,, "Coronavirus Pushes Shoppers Online Much Faster Than Expected," 3 Aug. 2020 The roadway from 28th Drive to 35th Avenue on Thomas Road will be restricted for several hours while police process the scene, according to Cox. Audrey Jensen, The Arizona Republic, "Police search for hit-and-run driver that struck woman near Thomas and 27th," 2 Aug. 2020 The organization is meeting with Hogan’s deputy chief of staff next week to lobby for massive voting centers in places like stadiums or other large venues that can process thousands of voters, spread far apart, with minimal staff. Erin Cox, Washington Post, "Hogan says he tried to expand access to voting. Instead, he sparked a revolt.," 1 Aug. 2020 At the time, medical science was ill-equipped to manage rising rates of communicable disease, leaving art to help fill a need to comprehend and process illness. Elizabeth Lee, The Conversation, "One 19th-century artist’s effort to grapple with tuberculosis resonates during COVID-19," 31 July 2020 The lawsuit claims the USDA has allowed 53 of 124 chicken processing plants to process up to 175 birds per minute instead of capping production at 140 birds as specified in regulations adopted in 2014. David Pitt, Star Tribune, "Unions sue USDA over faster chicken plant production speeds," 28 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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, "Bagpipe-blowing fire chief, Bruce Springsteen-Jon Bon Jovi benefit, chickens go to waste: News from around our 50 states," 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, "Do Memes Make the Internet a Better Place?," 11 Feb. 2020 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 Thursday and Friday follow with practice from 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m., followed by a near-six-hour qualifications process Saturday from 11 a.m.-4:50 p.m. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "Indy 500's 'field of 33' safe in 2020 with the addition of DragonSpeed entry with Ben Hanley," 8 Aug. 2020 Instead, sources suggested it’s more likely that Barzani companies will buy the fuel from Delta Crescent, potentially to process it at Iraqi Kurdistan’s Lanaz refinery, where Syrian fuel has already been shipped. Zack Kopplin, The New Republic, "How Mike Pompeo Built a Blood-for-Oil Pipeline," 7 Aug. 2020 At the Pennsylvania store, shoppers will pull up to a drive-thru window to place their order and a Wawa employee will process payment and hand over their items, the company said. Parija Kavilanz, CNN, "Wawa is building a drive-thru only convenience store," 3 Aug. 2020 But Wolf's memo said the government will no longer process applications for advanced parole from DACA recipients, further limiting the program. Daniel Gonzalez, The Arizona Republic, "About 500,000 eligible 'dreamers' frozen out of DACA by Trump administration," 1 Aug. 2020 At the time, medical science was ill-equipped to manage rising rates of communicable disease, leaving art to help fill a need to comprehend and process illness. Elizabeth Lee, The Conversation, "One 19th-century artist’s effort to grapple with tuberculosis resonates during COVID-19," 31 July 2020 In a time of incomprehensible upheaval and uncertainty, Coloradans of faith have turned to their beliefs to help process it all. Elise Schmelzer, The Denver Post, "What does it mean to believe in a higher power during a pandemic? Coloradans share how their faith helps them cope.," 5 Apr. 2020 This will allow schools more time to better identify and process transfer students. Richard Obert, The Arizona Republic, "AIA sets preliminary fall sports plans to finish high school seasons on time," 10 July 2020 Speaker of the House Tina Kotek and Senate President Peter Courtney want to get the money as soon as possible to about 60,000 Oregonians who are still waiting for the troubled Oregon Employment Department to process their applications for benefits. oregonlive, "Legislators want state to give $500 to Oregonians still waiting for unemployment benefits," 10 July 2020

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

8 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Process.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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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

Spanish Central: Translation of process

Nglish: Translation of process for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of process for Arabic Speakers

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