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

Examples of profess in a Sentence

He professes confidence in his friend. They profess loyalty to the king.
Recent Examples on the Web Online consumers also profess to be willing to pay more for sustainable or environmentally friendly products, including in the UK and US (about one-third), France (almost half), and Metro China (close to three-quarters). Forrester, Forbes, 12 Nov. 2021 Animation differentiates a good explainer video from traditional legal advertising on TV, where attorneys hawk their wares like carnival barkers on a crowded midway or zombie-like clients paste on fake smiles to profess their gratitude. Yec, Forbes, 5 Nov. 2021 The guys have to profess their love to Michelle while spinning in the g-force simulator. Ali Barthwell, Vulture, 3 Nov. 2021 Some activists, however, have alleged the LAPD has demonstrated bias against left-leaning protesters — many of whom are openly critical of the police — and sided with right-wing demonstrators who profess support for officers. Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times, 20 Aug. 2021 Back in 2011, a then 20-year-old Tyler, the Creator routinely took to social media to profess a slate of ambitious goals. Jeff Ihaza, Rolling Stone, 30 June 2021 Sometimes actual celebrities—those whom the hosts classify as Thems—call in to profess their obsessions, or to offer clarifications on past portrayals. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 31 May 2021 When the moment arrived for Eden to lower to one knee and profess her love, even as tears flowed, Hoover couldn't help but wonder, where were her rings? Nancy Kruh,, 25 May 2021 Nine out of every 20 adults do not profess to be either a Democrat or a Republican. Dave Anderson, Star Tribune, 30 Apr. 2021

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

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Last Updated

26 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Profess.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2021.

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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 : claim
: 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on profess

Nglish: Translation of profess for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of profess for Arabic Speakers


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