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 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 The ruling suggested that Johnson had misled Queen Elizabeth II, professing to want to shutter Parliament for banal procedural reasons while in fact asking her to do so to silence recalcitrant lawmakers opposed to his Brexit plans., "LONDON — A Scottish court ruled Wednesday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament was unlawful, a remarkable rebuke of the government’s hard-line tactics in trying to pull Britain out of the European Union.," 12 Sep. 2019 Linda Jaramillo, a member and former officer of the UCC from Portland, Oregon, said the way authorities are treating immigrant and refugee families and children is a sin, and goes against the family values professed by the country. Maria Perez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Hundreds of religious groups members protest Trump immigration policies in Milwaukee," 24 June 2019 Still in mourning for mentor Tony Stark and grappling with the world asking who will be the new Iron Man, Peter just wants to go on his school trip to Europe and profess his feelings for MJ (Zendaya). Nick Romano,, "Spider-Man: Far From Home," 24 June 2018 And no one should have to justify their choice to not be a parent by professing their love and adoration of children. Amy Blackstone, Time, "I Chose Not to Have Kids. That Doesn't Mean I Hate Them," 22 July 2019 For instance, after the president abandoned the Paris climate accord two years ago, Hogan joined a bipartisan group of governors professing support for the analysis and its goals. Scott Dance,, "Critics fault Maryland Gov. Hogan’s plan for cutting greenhouse gases as late, lax," 19 July 2019 Nearly two years ago, Ghost Ship trial defendant Derick Almena sat for an emotional interview with a local television station, firing back at his critics and professing his innocence in the 2016 Oakland warehouse fire that killed 36 people. Megan Cassidy,, "Ghost Ship trial: Prosecutors use defendant’s words against him," 11 July 2019 Potomac Watch Podcast Isn’t this something Democrats want, or at least profess to? Democrats have sent a million press releases claiming to care about the Dreamers, Haitians, and those fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Pelosi’s Dreamer Pawns," 21 Jan. 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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Statistics for profess

Last Updated

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for profess

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

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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

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).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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