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

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
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And only the first generation in that process is directly treated with colchicine. Hannah Hudnall, USA TODAY, 24 Sep. 2022 The mayor’s agent approved the demolition permit in December 2019, but the appeal has stalled that process for years. Luz Lazo, Washington Post, 23 Sep. 2022 When that process was followed for sewer rates last year, the city imposed lower rate increases on customers than the first consultant had recommended. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Sep. 2022 An early examination of where each stands in that process arrives Sunday when the Seahawks host the Falcons. Tim Booth, ajc, 22 Sep. 2022 Although autopsies would have detected the cyanide eventually, according to Donoghue, that process would have taken another 18 hours — and, in this case, every minute counted. Chicago Tribune, 22 Sep. 2022 While that process has long been routine and ceremonial, Trump and a group of his aides and lawyers unsuccessfully tried to exploit loopholes in the law in an attempt to overturn his defeat to Joe Biden in the 2020 election. Mary Clare Jalonick, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Sep. 2022 That process will continue once the Magic start camp. Khobi Price, Orlando Sentinel, 22 Sep. 2022 Comcast, cutting its losses, pulled its Fox bid in order to turn its attention to the acquisition of British broadcaster Sky and soundly beat out Disney in that negotiation process. Caitlin Huston, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Look for toys that will promote the following play skills: Sensorimotor: Using your own body to take in and process the world, this can take form from playing with soft cloth books or kinetic sand. Jamie Spain, Good Housekeeping, 19 Sep. 2022 Some are striking deals with mining companies to extract and process those and other raw materials—a significant departure for auto makers, which for decades have had little involvement that far up the supply chain. Mike Colias, WSJ, 18 Sep. 2022 Smartphone power users will benefit from the iPhone 14 Pro's new A16 Bionic chip, which helps process the video and photos taken with the phone's new 48MP main camera – and powers the smartphone's always-on display. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 9 Sep. 2022 Perhaps Tebo 1 created some of that art or helped process ocher into pigment. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, 7 Sep. 2022 An officer is allowed to rest and process the memory, in order to ensure a more accurate and complete statement. The Salt Lake Tribune, 1 Sep. 2022 Wethersfield police called in Connecticut State Police to help process the scene. Taylor Hartz, Hartford Courant, 28 Aug. 2022 Florida law allows more than a month to pre-process absentee ballots., 23 Aug. 2022 Digital merchants across the globe now feel the pressing need to adapt to the borderless world—the capability to accept and process online global payments has become an indispensable one. Percy Hung, Forbes, 17 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The One Drop has durable sides and a base made from REGRIND Silicone, a material created by reclaiming and upcycling post-process silicone scraps that would otherwise go to waste. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 19 July 2022 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The state’s determination that Sephora didn’t process global opt-out requests played a key role in the attorney general’s decision to take action. Patrick Coffee, WSJ, 27 Sep. 2022 The Seattle Police Department’s Crime Scene Investigation Unit responded to the scene to process evidence. Bradford Betz, Fox News, 23 Sep. 2022 Like many businesses throughout Canada, the venue (Rogers Stadium, ironically enough) could not process tickets, food and beverage sales and other transactions. Jem Aswad, Variety, 6 Sep. 2022 Downie teared up after his first dose, and spoke during a subsequent integration session — held to help people process the intense experience — about how his father had died in a car accident while taking him to hockey practice. Steve Volk, Rolling Stone, 22 June 2022 To help children process the wave of emotions, Soto-Quintanilla used a drawing of a heart with different parts, to illustrate how a human has the capacity to feel many emotions, sometimes at the same time. Paulina Villegas, Washington Post, 6 June 2022 School administrators brought in a team of grief counselors to help students process the loss of their classmate. Lea Skene, Baltimore Sun, 17 May 2022 At present, our devices can’t process user inputs alone. Mark Lippett, Forbes, 5 May 2022 In Colorado, like many other states, the state medical lab does not process newborn blood samples that come in on the weekend. John Fauber,, 29 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of process was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

26 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Process.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for process


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


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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