pro·​found | \prə-ˈfau̇nd, 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, 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, prō-​ \ adverb
profoundness \prə-​ˈfau̇n(d)-​nəs, prō-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for profound

Synonyms: Adjective

abstruse, arcane, deep, esoteric, hermetic (also hermetical), recondite

Antonyms: Adjective

shallow, superficial

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Examples of profound in a Sentence


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

His return to the kingdom, royals say, is the clearest sign yet of the profound impact the Khashoggi crisis is having within the royal family. Summer Said, WSJ, "Saudi Royals Rally to Protect the Family," 30 Oct. 2018 The late Pittsburgh rapper had clearly made a profound impact on his fans. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "7 Mac Miller albums make it to Billboard 200 less than two weeks after his death," 21 Sep. 2018 If lake levels are encroaching on a sandy shore and waves are moving farther up, a couple inches could have a profound impact. Tony Briscoe,, "What happens when Lake Superior has too much water? It dumps it into an already overflowing Lake Michigan," 13 July 2018 Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef turned food evangelist who died Friday, had a profound impact on America's food culture. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "Anthony Bourdain used food to explore serious issues," 8 June 2018 That was having this really profound negative impact on farmers in Bangladesh because the disappearance of fresh water in the aquifer meant that saltwater was able to seep in even further inland and more quickly. Bradley Babendir, Longreads, "Storytelling the Flood: Elizabeth Rush on Empathy and Climate Change," 7 June 2018 But his perseverance and progress, through years of therapy, made a profound impact on Albane. Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle, "Stanford golfer ushers autistic sibling out of silence," 17 May 2018 The president -- any president -- has a profound impact on the corporate world. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "Michael Cohen's sales pitch tells you something very important about the 2016 election," 10 May 2018 The results for efforts to integrate America’s universities would be profound and potentially devastating. Yuvraj Joshi, Teen Vogue, "Why the Affirmative Action Case Against Harvard Isn’t Actually About Fair Treatment for Minority Students," 16 Oct. 2018

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


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


see profound entry 1

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Statistics for profound

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for profound

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

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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 \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on profound

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with profound

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for profound

Spanish Central: Translation of profound

Nglish: Translation of profound for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of profound for Arabic Speakers

Comments on profound

What made you want to look up profound? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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