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 The city also isn’t commenting on its internal review process to determine whether the officers followed policy during the deadly incident. Ashley Remkus |, al, "Family of man killed by Madison police demand release of incident video," 12 Nov. 2019 But Interstellar Probe needs to plan for a multigenerational, sequential process from the beginning. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Proposed Interstellar Mission Reaches for the Stars, One Generation at a Time," 12 Nov. 2019 Artists invite you to view their work, learn about their processes, ask them questions, and hear what inspires them to create art. Denise Coffey,, "Make Time For Artists’ Open Studios," 11 Nov. 2019 About the grades: PFF explains its grading process on its website. Scott Patsko, cleveland, "Browns offensive player grades vs. Bills: Who was good, bad and average?," 11 Nov. 2019 Detailing his audition process, Brown remembered how Disney showed him what the animated character would roughly look like and pitched him the arc of the story, then asked him to come back two weeks later to perform an audition song. Kirsten Chuba, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Frozen 2' Cast Says Film Highlights "Women Being Able to Save Themselves"," 8 Nov. 2019 Posadas is part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and was already in the process of renewed her DACA when she was detained. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "ICE has released Selena tribute artist Karol Posadas," 8 Nov. 2019 In the wake of the latest spill, Dave Glatt, appointed head of the new department and a member of Burgum’s cabinet, has similarly asked TC Energy to review their processes. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "States Are More Worried About Pipeline Protesters Than Spills," 5 Nov. 2019 Carroll County is in the process of updating its nearly 40-year-old zoning code. Mary Grace Keller,, "Possible changes to Carroll County rezoning involve medical marijuana dispensaries, nonconforming uses," 3 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Dean Foods lost a major partnership with Walmart, which began processing its own milk in 2017. Sophie Lewis, CBS News, "America's largest milk producer files for bankruptcy," 12 Nov. 2019 On Friday, the SYFY drama released a new season 5 teaser that previews how the rest of the Brakebills gang is processing Quentin’s tragic season 4-ending death. Chancellor Agard,, "The Magicians mourns Quentin in new season 5 teaser," 8 Nov. 2019 The city received a complaint about that group's activities and is processing it, according to City Clerk Julie Bower. Jen Fifield, azcentral, "Glendale election: Voters to decide whether council members get substantial pay raise," 5 Nov. 2019 There is no cost to submit an application, but the board will begin charging a $50 late fee to process them if they are submitted less than 15 days before the event. Erika Butler,, "Harford liquor board OKs administrative fee hike, in case legislature does not approves license increases," 31 Oct. 2019 The companies submitted the measure to the state Attorney General’s office, which has 60 days to process it with a title and summary. Carolyn Said,, "Uber, Lyft, DoorDash to voters: Exempt our drivers from AB5," 29 Oct. 2019 Shepherd imports chocolate beans, roasts them and processes them here. Janet Eastman, oregonlive, "This Oregon chocolatier makes gruesome and delicious voodoo bunnies and brains for Halloween," 28 Oct. 2019 Or a student has experienced trauma but lacks the know-how to process it. Peter Slevin, The New Yorker, "Chicago’s Striking Teachers Test a Progressive New Mayor," 26 Oct. 2019 Genetic studies suggest Neolithic adults had lactose intolerance, so instead of drinking milk people may have processed it into digestion-friendly cheese or fermented it into yogurt. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian, "Bronze Age Baby Bottles Reveal How Some Ancient Infants Were Fed," 26 Sep. 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 While much of the country reacted with a weary sense of sorrow and outrage, word of the mass killing was processed differently by members of Patriot Front, one of the more prominent white supremacist groups in the U.S. ProPublica, "They Are Racist; Some of Them Have Guns. Inside the White Supremacist Group Hiding in Plain Sight.," 13 Nov. 2019 The government told the court that electronic-device searches were conducted on .007% of the hundreds of millions of international travelers processed by CBP in 2017. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "US violated Constitution by searching phones for no good reason, judge rules," 12 Nov. 2019 According to police, the car was recovered on Chicago’s north side on Aug. 24 and, when it was processed by Park Ridge evidence technicians, an ATM receipt was located inside. Pioneer Press Staff,, "Park Ridge police: ATM receipt leads to man accused of driving stolen car," 6 Nov. 2019 This is nearly unheard of in small villages like Akodara, where people typically have their orders processed by shopkeepers. Nupur Anand, Quartz, "A look into India’s first digital village," 5 Nov. 2019 And what emerged from this one was different in terms of how it was processed by Washington. NBC News, "Transcript: Party Lines," 4 Nov. 2019 Four-fifths of global transactions are processed by just ten banks, mostly in London, New York or Singapore. The Economist, "Trade finance is nearing a much-needed shakeup," 24 Oct. 2019 The four adults and three children were processed by Border Patrol and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Oct. 3. Author: Jeff Gammage, Anchorage Daily News, "U.S. officials dispute Canadian border crossing story of British family held in Pennsylvania detention center," 16 Oct. 2019 After they were processed by CBP, the family was turned over to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement on Oct. 3. Fox News, "British family in Canada who say wrong turn led to border crossing mistake previously denied entry to US: CBP," 16 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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Statistics for process

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for process

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

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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).


concealed or difficult to comprehend

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