pro·​fil·​ing | \ ˈprō-ˌfī-liŋ How to pronounce profiling (audio) \

Definition of profiling

: 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 Federal regulators are investigating a New Mexico hospital accused of racial profiling. Coronavirus, ProPublica, "Federal Investigation Finds Hospital Violated Patients’ Rights by Profiling, Separating Native Mothers and Newborns," 22 Aug. 2020 But at the same time, the interior minister halted an audit of racial profiling by the police, in a country where the largest racial minority groups are predominantly Muslim. Lenora Chu, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘I have a right to be here’: German Muslims push back against Islamophobia," 13 Aug. 2020 Shemwell was pulled over for a traffic violation in 2018 and accused the officer of racial profiling. Dallas News, "Vote on whether to recall McKinney City Council member La’Shadion Shemwell now on November ballot," 12 Aug. 2020 ICE Acting Field Office Director Elizabeth Godfrey of Portland denied allegations of racial profiling in a letter to federal lawmakers, writing that the officers identified themselves as ICE agents and never tried to detain Andrade-Tafolla. oregonlive, "Washington County man stopped by ICE agents outside courthouse files federal suit," 12 Aug. 2020 The potential here for racial and ethnic profiling is terrifying. Dvora Meyers, Longreads, "The Endgame of the Olympics," 7 Aug. 2020 Black people are already seen as threats, so a Black person running with a mask is basically a recipe for racial profiling. Rozalynn S. Frazier, SELF, "Between the Pandemic and Anti-Black Violence, Running Is No Longer the Refuge It Used to Be," 7 Aug. 2020 The Youth Caucus felt the subjective language of the ordinance allowed for racial profiling. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "How a Group of New Jersey Teens Started an Effective Social Movement From an Instagram Poll," 26 June 2020 An Oregon county has decided to make people of color exempt from its mandatory mask policy, citing the potential for racial profiling. Victoria Albert, CBS News, "People of color are exempt from Oregon county's mandatory mask order," 25 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'profiling.' 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 profiling

1980, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of profiling was in 1980

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Statistics for profiling

Last Updated

8 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Profiling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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How to pronounce profiling (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of profiling

: the act or process of learning information about someone based on what is already known
: the act or practice of regarding particular people as more likely to commit crimes because of their appearance, race, etc.



Legal Definition of profiling

: 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

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Britannica English: Translation of profiling for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about profiling

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