pro·​fil·​ing ˈprō-ˌfī-liŋ How to pronounce profiling (audio)
: the act or process of extrapolating information about a person based on known traits or tendencies
consumer profiling
specifically : the act of suspecting or targeting a person on the basis of observed characteristics or behavior
racial profiling

Examples of profiling in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The information is then compiled into annual reports with the goal of identifying and reducing racial profiling and other types of bias. Hannah Fry, Los Angeles Times, 7 May 2024 Though their companies are typically smaller and less profitable, Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs tend to be rejected on applications for financing even after accounting for differences in credit ratings, suggesting that racial profiling is an issue. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, 30 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for profiling 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'profiling.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1980, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of profiling was in 1980

Dictionary Entries Near profiling

Cite this Entry

“Profiling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Legal Definition


: the practice of singling out persons for law enforcement procedures on the basis of predetermined characteristics
specifically : the discriminatory practice of profiling based on race or ethnicity
racial profiling

More from Merriam-Webster on profiling

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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