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[pros-es; especially British proh-ses] /ˈprɒs ɛs; especially British ˈproʊ sɛs/
noun, plural processes
[pros-es-iz, ‐uh-siz, ‐uh-seez or, esp. British, proh-ses‐, proh-suh‐] /ˈprɒs ɛs ɪz, ‐ə sɪz, ‐əˌsiz or, esp. British, ˈproʊ sɛs‐, ˈproʊ sə‐/ (Show IPA)
a systematic series of actions directed to some end:
to devise a process for homogenizing milk.
a continuous action, operation, or series of changes taking place in a definite manner:
the process of decay.
  1. the summons, mandate, or writ by which a defendant or thing is brought before court for litigation.
  2. the whole course of the proceedings in an action at law.
Photography. photomechanical or photoengraving methods collectively.
Biology, Anatomy. a natural outgrowth, projection, or appendage:
a process of a bone.
the action of going forward or on.
the condition of being carried on.
course or lapse, as of time.
conk4 (defs 1, 2).
verb (used with object)
to treat or prepare by some particular series of actions, as in manufacturing.
to handle (papers, records, etc.) by systematically organizing them, recording or making notations on them, following up with appropriate action, or the like:
to process mail.
to require (someone) to answer questionnaires, perform various tasks, and sometimes to undergo physical and aptitude classification examinations before the beginning or termination of a period of service:
The army processes all personnel entering or leaving the service.
to convert (an agricultural commodity) into marketable form by a special series of steps, as pasteurization.
to institute a legal process against; prosecute.
to serve a process or summons on.
Computers. to carry out operations on (data or programs).
conk4 (def 3).
verb (used without object)
to undergo the activities involved in hiring or firing personnel:
The recruits expected to process in four days.
prepared or modified by an artificial process or procedure:
process cheese.
noting, pertaining to, or involving photomechanical or photoengraving methods:
a process print.
Informal. of or relating to hair that has been conked.
Movies. created by or used in process cinematography:
a moving background on a process screen.
1275-1325; Middle English proces (noun) (< Old French) < Latin prōcessus a going forward, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + ced-, variant stem of cēdere to yield (see cede) + -tus suffix of v. action; see cession
Related forms
[pro-sesh-oo-uh l or, esp. British, proh-] /prɒˈsɛʃ u əl or, esp. British, proʊ-/ (Show IPA),
overprocess, verb (used with object)
preprocess, verb
reprocess, verb (used with object)
semiprocessed, adjective
transprocess, noun
unprocessed, adjective
1. operation. Process, procedure, proceeding apply to something that goes on or takes place. A process is a series of progressive and interdependent steps by which an end is attained: a chemical process. Procedure usually implies a formal or set order of doing a thing, a method of conducting affairs: parliamentary procedure. Proceeding (usually pl.) applies to what goes on or takes place on a given occasion or to the records of the occasion: Proceedings of the Royal Academy of Sciences.
Pronunciation note
The word process, an early 14th century French borrowing, has a regularly formed plural that adds -es to the singular. This plural, as in similar words like recesses and successes, has traditionally been pronounced
[-iz] /-ɪz/ (Show IPA)
[pros-es-iz, proh-ses-] /ˈprɒs ɛs ɪz, ˈproʊ sɛs-/
[pros-uh-siz, proh-suh-] /ˈprɒs ə sɪz, ˈproʊ sə-/ .
Recent years have seen the increasing popularity of an
[-eez] /-ˌiz/
pronunciation for processes, perhaps by mistaken analogy with such plurals as theses and hypotheses, with which it has no connection. This newer pronunciation is common among younger educated speakers. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for processing
  • They downgraded chocolates with off-flavors from the beans or flavor defects from processing.
  • If you are processing this way, make sure that your lids have never been used before, as they will only seal once.
  • The economy is heavily dependent on the extraction and processing of minerals for export.
  • Industrial activity is concentrated on processing farm commodities.
  • Manufacturing consists mainly of the processing of raw materials and of light manufacturing for the domestic market.
  • Sugar processing makes up one-third of industrial activity but is not efficient.
  • Manufacturing activities are limited to fruit processing, clothing, and handicrafts.
  • Lately, microscopy has been greatly enhanced by digital image processing.
  • Mountaintop sites also create slurry ponds-artificial lakes that hold the byproducts of coal processing and that sometimes fail.
  • Meat processing is an industry that has brought the world to small, rural communities.
British Dictionary definitions for processing


a series of actions that produce a change or development: the process of digestion
a method of doing or producing something
a forward movement
the course of time
  1. a summons, writ, etc, commanding a person to appear in court
  2. the whole proceedings in an action at law
a natural outgrowth or projection of a part, organ, or organism
a distinct subtask of a computer system which can be regarded as proceeding in parallel with other subtasks of the system
(modifier) relating to the general preparation of a printing forme or plate by the use, at some stage, of photography
(modifier) denoting a film, film scene, shot, etc, made by techniques that produce unusual optical effects
verb (transitive)
to subject to a routine procedure; handle
to treat or prepare by a special method, esp to treat (food) in order to preserve it: to process cheese
  1. to institute legal proceedings against
  2. to serve a process on
  1. to develop, rinse, fix, wash, and dry (exposed film, etc)
  2. to produce final prints or slides from (undeveloped film)
(computing) to perform mathematical and logical operations on (data) according to programmed instructions in order to obtain the required information
to prepare (food) using a food processor
Word Origin
C14: from Old French procès, from Latin prōcessus an advancing, from prōcēdere to proceed


(intransitive) to proceed in or as if in a procession
Word Origin
C19: back formation from procession
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 processing



early 14c., "fact of being carried on" (e.g. in process), from Old French proces "a journey; continuation, development; legal trial" (13c.) and directly from Latin processus "a going forward, advance, progress," from past participle stem of procedere "go forward" (see proceed).

Meaning "course or method of action" is from mid-14c.; sense of "continuous series of actions meant to accomplish some result" (the main modern sense) is from 1620s. Legal sense of "course of action of a suit at law" is attested from early 14c.


1530s, "begin legal action against," from Middle French processer "to prosecute," from proces (see process (n.)). Meaning "prepare by special process" is from 1881, from the noun in English. Of persons, "to register and examine," by 1935. Related: Processed; processing.

"to go in procession," 1814, "A colloquial or humorous back-formation" from procession [OED]. Accent on second syllable.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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processing in Medicine

process proc·ess (prŏs'ěs', prō'sěs')
n. pl. proc·ess·es (prŏs'ěs'ĭz, prō'sěs'-, prŏs'ĭ-sēz', prō'sĭ-)

  1. A series of actions, changes, or functions bringing about a result.

  2. Advance or progress, as of a disease.

  3. An outgrowth of tissue; a projecting part, as of a bone.

proc'ess adj.
proc'ess v.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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processing in Technology
data processing, signal processing
Performing some predefined sequence of operations on an input to produce an output or change of internal state; activity specifically involving the computer's CPU.
The term is often qualified: "data processing" treats digital data, "signal processing" treats analog data (possibly in digital form), "word processing" takes in typed human language input and produces digital documents, image processing transforms digital images.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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