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

Alexander considers the incidents examples of racial profiling. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Viral Video Shows a Black Columbia University Student Being Pinned Down by Barnard College Security," 15 Apr. 2019 And third, to reassure you that Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling. Angela Helm, The Root, "Starbucks CEO Apologizes, Says He Wants to Meet With the Black Men Arrested in Philly," 15 Apr. 2018 And third, to reassure you that Starbucks stands firmly against discrimination or racial profiling. Cnn Staff, CNN, "Starbucks CEO calls arrest of two black men at Philadelphia store 'reprehensible'," 15 Apr. 2018 In other words, there will most likely be racial profiling, in which white people get to freely cross borders but others face higher odds of being stopped. New York Times, "Germany’s Europe-Shaking Political Crisis Over Migrants, Explained," 3 July 2018 Mary Ellen O'Toole, a former FBI agent who specialized in criminal profiling, said a military or police background for a serial killer can be a common assumption, but usually doesn't hold true. Ryan Sabalow, Dale Kasler And Nashelly Chavez, sacbee, "Did military and law enforcement training help East Area Rapist suspect evade capture? | The Sacramento Bee," 25 Apr. 2018 During Tuesday’s packed council meeting, Councilmember M. Lorena González, chair of the council’s public-safety committee, spoke emotionally about her work on last year’s accountability legislation and her lifelong exposure to racial profiling. Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, "Seattle City Council approves police-union contract; deal faces scrutiny by federal judge overseeing reforms," 13 Nov. 2018 Racial profiling, disproportionate arrest and incarceration rates, and biased apprehension tactics such as stop-and-frisk work to make black immigrants especially vulnerable to draconian immigration enforcement tactics. Shamira Ibrahim, Daily Intelligencer, "Patricia Okoumou and the Threat to Black Immigrants," 13 July 2018 It was passed to address racial profiling, Williams said, and not to make a political statement about immigration. Washington Post, "Groups mobilize against threat to Oregon’s ‘sanctuary’ law," 11 July 2018

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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Statistics for profiling

Last Updated

12 May 2019

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Time Traveler for profiling

The first known use of profiling was in 1980

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More Definitions for profiling



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

More from Merriam-Webster on profiling

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

Comments on profiling

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