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.

1400–50; late Middle English; back formation from professed

preprofess, verb (used with object)
unprofessing, adjective

1. claim, allege, purport, avow. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
profess (prəˈfɛs)
1.  to affirm or announce (something, such as faith); acknowledge: to profess ignorance; to profess a belief in God
2.  (tr) 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
3.  to receive or be received into a religious order, as by taking vows
[C14: from Latin prōfitērī to confess openly, from pro-1 + fatērī to confess]

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 14c., "to take a vow" (in a religious order), from O.Fr. profes, from L. professus "having declared publicly," pp. of profitieri "declare openly," from pro- "forth" + fateri (pp. fassus) "acknowledge, confess." Meaning "declare openly" first recorded 1520s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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.
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