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

Psychics professed to know where searchers could find Jaryd. Miles Blumhardt, The Denver Post, "Jaryd Atadero disappeared on hike near Fort Collins 20 years ago. His father has been looking for answers ever since.," 9 June 2019 Ritchie's daughter professed her gratefulness to the young men, thanking them profusely in her blog post. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Four teenage boys save 90-year-old woman from burning house," 7 June 2019 But Kazee was months ahead of Dewan to profess his love publicly. Kendall Trammell, CNN, "Jenna Dewan and Steve Kazee are officially Instagram official," 6 June 2019 Audience members were pleased; a Mr. Brewster, who had his head measured and manipulated by Maxwell, later professed his enthusiasm for the new science in a letter to the Barbados Times. Christoph Irmscher, WSJ, "‘Materials of the Mind’ Review: The Lost Art of Reading Bumps," 22 May 2019 But now, Sophie has professed her innocence, while pointing the finger back at Emilia. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Sophie Turner Says Emilia Clarke Was Responsible for the "Game of Thrones" Coffee Cup Error," 12 May 2019 Lachlan is politically conservative and defends Fox News even as his left-leaning brother James privately professes embarrassment about the channel. Sarah Ellison, The Seattle Times, "Younger Murdoch take the reins. How will he deal with Trump?," 25 Mar. 2019 Getty Images At the very beginning of tonight's Grammy Awards, Michelle Obama made a surprise appearance, joining host Alicia Keys alongside Jennifer Lopez, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Lady Gaga to profess her love for music and the women who make it. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Michelle Obama's 2019 Grammy's Opening Speech Is Iconic," 11 Feb. 2019 Unlike some of the commercial tools, the HIrisplex-S DNA website does not profess to generate an approximate image of the person associated with the sample. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "IUPUI prof develops 'biological witness' test to predict skin, hair & eye color from DNA," 29 May 2018

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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Statistics for profess

Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for profess

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

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More Definitions for profess



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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More from Merriam-Webster on profess

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with profess

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for profess

Spanish Central: Translation of profess

Nglish: Translation of profess for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of profess for Arabic Speakers

Comments on profess

What made you want to look up profess? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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