early 13c., "vows taken upon entering a religious order," from O.Fr. profession
, from L. professionem
) "public declaration," from professus
). Meaning "occupation one professes to be skilled in" is from 1540s; meaning "body of persons engaged in some occupation" is from 1610; as a euphemism for "prostitution" (e.g. oldest profession
) it is recorded from 1888.