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[pruh-fes] /prəˈfɛs/
verb (used with object)
to lay claim to, often insincerely; pretend to:
He professed extreme regret.
to declare openly; announce or affirm; avow or acknowledge:
to profess one's satisfaction.
to affirm faith in or allegiance to (a religion, God, etc.).
to declare oneself skilled or expert in; claim to have knowledge of; make (a thing) one's profession or business.
to teach as a professor:
She professes comparative literature.
to receive or admit into a religious order.
verb (used without object)
to make a profession, avowal, or declaration.
to take the vows of a religious order.
Origin of profess
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English; back formation from professed
Related forms
preprofess, verb (used with object)
unprofessing, adjective
1. claim, allege, purport, avow. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for profess
  • It doesn't seem to matter what the faith, so long as our leaders profess some religion, any religion.
  • Firms profess to be unworried by recession, since whisky they make now cannot be sold for years anyway.
  • Even, a profess volcanologist could not answer exactly.
  • If he did not profess a faith of any kind it does not refute his findings.
  • Fox encouraged her to use an exotic accent and profess her interest in mysticism and the occult.
  • The leaders, however, profess to be satisfied with present conditions and claim that ultimate victory will be theirs.
  • Tenure has proved to be an imperfect shield, notwithstanding what administrations profess to guarantee.
  • The four established parties profess to be unconcerned about this new rival.
  • It bothers me when people profess to believe in a scientific theory.
  • The people profess to be much gratified at the prospect of this work of development.
British Dictionary definitions for profess


to affirm or announce (something, such as faith); acknowledge: to profess ignorance, to profess a belief in God
(transitive) to claim (something, such as a feeling or skill, or to be or do something), often insincerely or falsely: to profess to be a skilled driver
to receive or be received into a religious order, as by taking vows
Word Origin
C14: from Latin prōfitērī to confess openly, from pro-1 + fatērī to confess
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for profess

early 14c., "to take a vow" (in a religious order), a back-formation from profession or else from Old French profes, from Medieval Latin professus "avowed," literally "having declared publicly," past participle of Latin profiteri "declare openly, testify voluntarily, acknowledge, make public statement of," from pro- "forth" (see pro-) + fateri (past participle fassus) "acknowledge, confess," akin to fari "speak" (see fame (n.)). Meaning "declare openly" first recorded 1520s, "a direct borrowing of the sense from Latin" [Barnhart]. Related: Professed; professing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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