following an occupation as a means of livelihood or for gain: a professional builder.
of, pertaining to, or connected with a profession: professional studies.
appropriate to a profession: professional objectivity.
engaged in one of the learned professions: A lawyer is a professional person.
following as a business an occupation ordinarily engaged in as a pastime: a professional golfer.
making a business or constant practice of something not properly to be regarded as a business: “A salesman,” he said, “is a professional optimist.”
undertaken or engaged in as a means of livelihood or for gain: professional baseball.
of or for a professional person or his or her place of business or work: a professional apartment; professional equipment.
done by a professional; expert: professional car repairs.
a person who belongs to one of the professions, especially one of the learned professions.
a person who earns a living in a sport or other occupation frequently engaged in by amateurs: a golf professional.
an expert player, as of golf or tennis, serving as a teacher, consultant, performer, or contestant; pro.
a person who is expert at his or her work: You can tell by her comments that this editor is a real professional.

1740–50; profession + -al1

professionally, adverb
interprofessional, adjective
interprofessionally, adverb
pseudoprofessional, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
professional (prəˈfɛʃənəl)
1.  of, relating to, suitable for, or engaged in as a profession
2.  engaging in an activity for gain or as a means of livelihood
3.  a.  extremely competent in a job, etc
 b.  (of a piece of work or anything performed) produced with competence or skill
4.  undertaken or performed for gain or by people who are paid
5.  a person who belongs to or engages in one of the professions
6.  a person who engages for his livelihood in some activity also pursued by amateurs
7.  a person who engages in an activity with great competence
8.  an expert player of a game who gives instruction, esp to members of a club by whom he is hired

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

early 15c., of religious orders; 1747 of careers (especially of the skilled or learned trades from c.1793); see profession. Meaning "one who does X for a living" is from 1798; opposed to amateur from 1851. The noun is recorded from 1811.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
And finally pantyhose give a sophisticated, polished, finished or professional
Recently, however, researchers have conducted the first brain-imaging studies
  of both amateur and professional dancers.
He hoped to find some new method of making a living and aspired to become a
  professional breeder of ferrets.
If verbalism were confined to professional philosophers, no harm would be done.
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