pro·​found | \ prə-ˈfau̇nd How to pronounce profound (audio) , prō- \

Definition of profound

 (Entry 1 of 2)
1a : having intellectual depth and insight
b : difficult to fathom or understand
2a : extending far below the surface
b : coming from, reaching to, or situated at a depth : deep-seated a profound sigh
3a : characterized by intensity of feeling or quality
b : all encompassing : complete profound sleep profound deafness


pro·​found | \ prə-ˈfau̇nd How to pronounce profound (audio) , prō- \
Definition of profound (Entry 2 of 2)
: something that is very deep specifically : the depths of the sea

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Other Words from profound


profoundly \ prə-​ˈfau̇n(d)-​lē How to pronounce profound (audio) , prō-​ \ adverb
profoundness \ prə-​ˈfau̇n(d)-​nəs How to pronounce profound (audio) , prō-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for profound

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of profound in a Sentence

Adjective Here, for the first time, a journalist gains access to the archive of one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history. Its contents, as much literature as science, offer profound insight into the human condition—and into the brilliant, complex mind of the study's longtime director, George Vaillant. — Joshua Wolf Shenk, Atlantic, June 2009 This isn't escapism, or denial of grief; it is acceptance of the facts of life, the map of profound relationship to the grief that is part of life … — Tom Piazza, Why New Orleans Matters, 2005 The status of women, though probably the most profound single difference between the two civilizations, attracted far less attention than such matters as guns, factories and parliaments. — Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong?, 2002 Despite all the respect, it was hard not to feel a twinge of schadenfreude at O'Hara's fall from esteem, which had caused him profound bitterness. — Kingsley Amis, Memoirs, 1991 His knowledge of history is profound. Her books offer profound insights into the true nature of courage. the profound mysteries of outer space a profound sense of loss His paintings have had a profound effect on her own work.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Interpreted with openness and self-awareness, the many types of evangelical Christianity can be heart-stoppingly profound—mysterious and assured, grounded and soaring, practiced in the diagnostics of human pain. Charles King, Time, "I, Too, Was Once a Soldier of the Apocalypse: Why White Evangelicals Must Choose Between Reform and American Extremism," 1 Mar. 2021 In a pre-Christmas catchup that turned into a heart-to-heart talk, Louis Nix III, who had rattled off answers to both routine and profound questions, had a deep one of his own. Eric Hansen, The Indianapolis Star, "Notre Dame nation mourns the death of former football star Louis Nix III," 1 Mar. 2021 Patients report brain fog, an inability to multitask, trouble breathing, gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, as well as profound fatigue. Erika Edwards, NBC News, "Inside 'post-Covid' clinics: How specialized centers are trying to treat long-haulers," 1 Mar. 2021 Gender bias starts early and runs deep, permeating into our psyche in profound yet invisible ways. Margie Warrell, Forbes, "How Will You #ChooseToChallenge This International Women’s Day?," 27 Feb. 2021 Any one of these would be enough to challenge us in profound ways. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Read Biden's full inaugural speech," 20 Jan. 2021 The book limns how the two men, so different in their origins and art, were remarkably similar in profound ways. New York Times, "The People James Baldwin Knew," 11 Dec. 2020 That might not sound like much, but that first degree is changing the planet in profound ways, from more extreme heat waves that put human health and crops at risk, to rising sea levels. Dolf Gielen, Quartz, "5 years after Paris, how do countries’ climate policies match up to their promises?," 11 Dec. 2020 Amid the pain there’s also been heroism and beauty -- and moments that have changed us in profound ways., "What has 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic taught you? We want to hear what you’ve learned and how you’ve changed this year," 8 Dec. 2020

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1621, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for profound

Adjective and Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French parfunt, profond deep, from Latin profundus, from pro- before + fundus bottom — more at pro-, bottom

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Time Traveler for profound Time Traveler

The first known use of profound was in the 14th century

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Statistics for profound

Last Updated

4 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Profound.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for profound



English Language Learners Definition of profound

: having or showing great knowledge or understanding
: difficult to understand : requiring deep thought or wisdom
: very strongly felt


pro·​found | \ prə-ˈfau̇nd How to pronounce profound (audio) \

Kids Definition of profound

1 : having or showing great knowledge and understanding a profound thinker
2 : very deeply felt profound sorrow

Other Words from profound

profoundly adverb

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