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 Weingarten admits the book idea is a stunt but professes his love for stunts that tell unexpected truths. Michael Hill, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Pulitzer winner Weingarten tells story of “One Day”," 21 Oct. 2019 Steve Granitz Getty Images Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas are back from their honeymoon, and Sophie has been a bit quiet on social media, beyond professing her love for Joe, of course. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Sophie Turner Shows Support for a News Story About Giving Students Mental Health Days," 25 July 2019 For anyone who professes an interest in the history of Milwaukee and Wisconsin, a trip to Germany would seem mandatory. John Gurda, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Clean streets, clean government, good beer. On a trip through Germany, many hints of our Wisconsin home.," 30 Oct. 2019 John Barnes of Arizona, who brought his 14-year-old grandson from Ohio on the tour, professed to be apolitical and was more keen to discuss the executive lawn than the president or his activities. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The best respite from politics is at the White House," 20 Oct. 2019 Baker professed reverence for jazz drummers Elvin Jones, Art Blakey and Max Roach, and that informed his unerring sense of complex rhythm. cleveland, "Ginger Baker, rock drumming legend of Cream, dies at 80," 6 Oct. 2019 We were concerned that Sharon was domineering, but Catherine professed to be happy. Ask Amy, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Daughter is isolated in abusive relationship and parents want to get her out," 3 Oct. 2019 Seattle Times golf writer Scott Hanson and golf writer emeritus Craig Smith don’t profess to be the best golfers to ever hit the links. Scott Hanson, The Seattle Times, "Teeing off: Popular Walter Hall Golf Course in Everett gets fun — but tougher — on back nine," 18 Sep. 2018 Although Franz Josef professed to be very much in love with his new bride, his imperial responsibilities left him with little time for her. National Geographic, "Life for this Bavarian princess was no fairy tale," 14 May 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

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Profess.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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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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