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 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 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

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

20 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

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