pro·​fess prə-ˈfes How to pronounce profess (audio)
professed; professing; professes

transitive verb

: to receive formally into a religious community following a novitiate by acceptance of the required vows
: to declare or admit openly or freely : affirm
: to declare in words or appearances only : pretend, claim
: to confess one's faith in or allegiance to
: to practice or claim to be versed in (a calling or profession)
: to teach as a professor

intransitive verb

: to make a profession or avowal
obsolete : to profess friendship

Example Sentences

He professes confidence in his friend. They profess loyalty to the king.
Recent Examples on the Web Aquarius is also an air sign, which means this day is best celebrated by reading, writing, speaking, and even air traveling in order to profess your love. Meghan Rose, Glamour, 9 Feb. 2023 Evans himself doesn’t profess to have been on the cutting edge of new music in his teenage years, however, the early part of which lines up with where Listening to the Music the Machines Make starts. Lily Moayeri, SPIN, 7 Feb. 2023 NBC News tested the app’s limits with other figures and found sometimes-contradictory responses invented by the software, which doesn’t profess to use real quotations or citations. David Ingram, NBC News, 20 Jan. 2023 The commercial is hardly the first reunion for the real-life friends, who frequently profess their appreciation for each other as pals, mentors, godparents and, since 2019, business partners. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 19 Jan. 2023 Those who profess to care about global warming but balk at putting a price on carbon would have no justification for opposing geoengineering. Keith Kloor, Discover Magazine, 18 Oct. 2010 Those who can't seem to profess their love for the classic winter spot simply need this sweater by Russel Wilson—no questions asked. Christian Gollayan, Men's Health, 28 Dec. 2022 While Sinema may not profess to care, the rest of Washington will be eager to figure out what this means for control of Washington for the next two years. Peter Weber, The Week, 9 Dec. 2022 Following Sunday’s election of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, all six of the largest countries in Latin America are or will soon be led by leaders who profess leftist ideals. Julie Turkewitz, New York Times, 1 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'profess.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


in sense 1, from Middle English, from profes, adjective, having professed one's vows, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin professus, from Latin, past participle of profitēri to profess, confess, from pro- before + fatēri to acknowledge; in other senses, from Latin professus, past participle — more at confess

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of profess was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near profess

Cite this Entry

“Profess.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


pro·​fess prə-ˈfes How to pronounce profess (audio)
: to declare openly or freely
profess confidence in a friend
: pretend entry 1 sense 1, claim
professed to be our friends

More from Merriam-Webster on profess

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