pro·fil·ing | \ˈprō-ˌfī-liŋ \

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

Or how does private wealth accumulation contribute to racial profiling? Jonny Coleman, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: Beyonce Makes Jay-Z Better on Surprise Couples-Therapy Album 'Everything Is Love'," 18 June 2018 For more than a month, Bradley has allowed the bill to languish in his committee, citing concerns that the bill would allow police to view people’s cellphones and could lead to racial profiling. By Lawrence Mower, miamiherald, "Prospects for ‘texting while driving’ bill look dim. Privacy, profiling are concerns. | Miami Herald," 26 Feb. 2018 The incident comes amid an ongoing conversation about racial profiling and the mistreatment of black people in public places like restaurants and retail stores. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "Waffle House employees keep calling the cops on black customers," 14 June 2018 For them, the reality of life in France is unemployment, poverty and a life of racial profiling and discrimination by the authorities. Dawn Dimowo, CNN, "Opinion: Immigrants must perform extraordinary feats to gain acceptance," 30 May 2018 But critics say the program violates people’s civil and due process rights, tarnishes their names, and fosters racial profiling and police harassment. Evan Sernoffsky, San Francisco Chronicle, "A safer San Francisco debates whether to get rid of gang injunctions," 28 Apr. 2018 Whether white children would have been arrested on similar criminal charges seems unlikely, but during this period black residents, especially those in the city's poorer neighborhoods, were often victims of racial profiling and police misconduct. James Karst,, "Willie Telfry was arrested with Louis Armstrong, but he followed a different path," 19 Feb. 2018 This is a classic case of racial profiling in my half a million $$ neighborhood pool. CBS News, "Man who challenged black family’s use of pool loses job," 6 July 2018 This is a classic case of racial profiling in my half a million $$ neighborhood pool. CBS News, "Man who challenged black family’s use of pool loses job," 6 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

13 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for profiling

The first known use of profiling was in 1980

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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

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