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 profoundly (audio) , prō-​ \ adverb
profoundness \ prə-​ˈfau̇n(d)-​nəs How to pronounce profoundness (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 Pursuing relationships in the face of great personal cost has always been a profound way gay people fight their own oppression. Nona Willis Aronowitz, Teen Vogue, "How to Decide if It's Safe to Date If You're Queer and Have Homophobic Parents," 4 Dec. 2019 Present-day programs that focus on education, training, stable housing attainment, attraction of new jobs that pay a wage above self-sufficiency—all can alter the trajectory of the local economy in profound ways. Julie Heath,, "Region's Economy: What's ahead for Cincinnati's job market in the next decade," 3 Dec. 2019 Artificial intelligence now shapes our lives in profound ways, curating social media posts that drive us apart, determining who gets a loan or probation, and even helping choose our romantic partners. Wired, "Rethinking Our Relationship With Artificial Intelligence," 27 Nov. 2019 Senate conviction could divide our United States in ways more profound than occurred during the Civil War. Martin Schram, Twin Cities, "Martin Schram: A tribute to Trump’s rescuer," 17 Nov. 2019 Johnson’s analysis shows a profound change has been underway since at least 1990, which has accelerated in recent years. Mike Gousha, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee city workers moved out in droves after the residency rule ended. It was a boon for the suburbs.," 14 Nov. 2019 These profound changes during adolescence make teens especially vulnerable to the development of lifetime depression. Kathleen Mullan Harris, The Conversation, "Strong family ties during teen years can help ward off depression in later life," 7 Oct. 2019 Other candidates, like Sanders and Warren, have stressed a larger message of profound change. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Kamala Harris Is Moving to Iowa," 23 Sep. 2019 Although the brain is housed in our hard, protective skull, even one sudden blow can mean profound changes for an individual., "How marijuana can help those with traumatic brain injury," 18 Sep. 2019

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

9 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Profound.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for profound


How to pronounce profound (audio)

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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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).


heavy with or as if with moisture

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