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

Definition of profess

transitive verb

1 : to receive formally into a religious community following a novitiate by acceptance of the required vows
2a : to declare or admit openly or freely : affirm
b : to declare in words or appearances only : pretend, claim
3 : to confess one's faith in or allegiance to
4a : to practice or claim to be versed in (a calling or profession)
b : to teach as a professor

intransitive verb

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

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Examples of profess in a Sentence

He professes confidence in his friend. They profess loyalty to the king.
Recent Examples on the Web But when politicians who profess the Catholic faith support them, there are additional problems. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Archbishop to lead national Catholic group on Joe Biden and abortion," 21 Nov. 2020 The opportunities to profess your love for spicy ketchup and patty melts are endless. Abigail Rosenthal, Chron, "Your shopping list is complete. Whataburger holiday merch is here.," 10 Nov. 2020 MacDonald has continued to profess his innocence, and his last attempt at securing a new trial was denied in 2018. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'A Wilderness of Error' makes its own errors tackling the Jeffrey MacDonald case," 24 Sep. 2020 Once a rapport is established the scammer will profess his deep love for his victim. Melissa Ramsey, Houston Chronicle, "BBB on Seniors: Love in a pandemic: Watch for scams," 17 Sep. 2020 Beyond his gold records and hits, droves of fans from different generations continue to profess an eternal love for him. Marisol Chávez, Dallas News, "Four years after his death, Juan Gabriel’s legacy is strong," 29 Aug. 2020 It is considered common wisdom that the key to Middle East peacemaking is for the U.S. to profess its neutrality while pressuring Israel to offer unilateral concessions to appease the Palestinians.... WSJ, "Trump Succeeds in Middle East Where Others Failed," 25 Aug. 2020 Admittedly, Hitmen doesn't profess the ambition of those other comedies. Inkoo Kang, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Hitmen': TV Review," 4 Aug. 2020 This is, plainly, the next frontier in American public policy and where anyone professing an interest in transforming America post-pandemic ought to begin. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "Workers Deserve to Be Owners, Too," 20 May 2020

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.

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First Known Use of profess

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

History and Etymology for profess

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

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Time Traveler for profess

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for profess

Last Updated

25 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Profess.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for profess


How to pronounce profess (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of profess

: to say or declare (something) openly
: to say that you are, do, or feel something when other people doubt what you say
old-fashioned : to believe in (a particular religion)


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

Kids Definition of profess

1 : to declare openly He professed his love.
2 : pretend sense 2 She professed to be my friend.

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