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 Your merit is in professing principles that tend to order your life. Jean Genet, Harper's magazine, "Minor Threats," 6 Jan. 2020 After years of professing an inability to act and reduce such behavior, YouTube is finally updating its policies to reflect the ways bad actors actually tend to behave, and the site is promising to increase consequences against harassers. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "New YouTube policy tries to ban “implied” threats, “malicious” insults," 11 Dec. 2019 Soon even members of the Politburo were professing their love for it. The Economist, "How China made the piano its own," 18 Dec. 2019 During government negotiations, both sides professed eagerness to reach a power-sharing agreement, but could not agree on its composition nor who would lead it. Washington Post, "Israelis contend with reality of third straight election," 12 Dec. 2019 Beaton has publicly professed his admiration of Prime Minister Key while defending the hiring of the younger Key as apolitical. Chris Quintana, USA TODAY, "This Harvard grad has made millions on U.S. college admissions for international students," 9 Dec. 2019 Zaidi already has professed a desire for more power in the outfield corners, preferably right-handed. Henry Schulman,, "Giants to meet Bumgarner’s reps even as Zaidi acknoweldges move toward youth," 9 Dec. 2019 Netanyahu has professed innocence in all three, saying the charges are trumped up by a biased justice system egged on by a liberal media., "JERUSALEM — Israel’s state prosecutor said Thursday he intends to indict seven men, including close associates of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a sweeping graft case related to a possible conflict of interest involving a $2 billion purchase of German submarines.," 6 Dec. 2019 Penske professes no particular emotions in being back. Indystar Sports, Indianapolis Star, "Wide-eyed Roger Penske first saw Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 14. How the love affair grew.," 4 Nov. 2019

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

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Profess.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 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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More from Merriam-Webster on profess

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for profess

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with profess

Spanish Central: Translation of profess

Nglish: Translation of profess for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of profess for Arabic Speakers

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a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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