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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They do not profess Mohammedanism and have implicit confidence in their "grigris."

  • In vain, dear Caroline, you urge me to think; I profess only to feel.

  • The class of diviners called Ichiko profess to give tidings of the dead, or of those who have gone to distant countries.

    Tales of Old Japan Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford
  • I conjure you by that which you profess, (how'er you come to know it,) answer me to what I ask you.

  • They profess the Lutheran doctrine of justification, but reject the notion of the invisible Church and the universal priesthood.

    The History of Freedom John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton
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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