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[pruh-fes-er] /prəˈfɛs ər/
a teacher of the highest academic rank in a college or university, who has been awarded the title Professor in a particular branch of learning; a full professor:
a professor of Spanish literature.
any teacher who has the rank of professor, associate professor, or assistant professor.
a teacher.
an instructor in some art or skilled sport:
a professor of singing; a professor of boxing.
a person who professes his or her sentiments, beliefs, etc.
1350-1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin prōfessor one who has taken the vows of a religious order, Latin: a public lecturer, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + -fet-, combining form of fatērī to acknowledge, declare + -tor -tor, with tt > ss
Related forms
[proh-fuh-sawr-ee-uh l, -sohr-, prof-uh-] /ˌproʊ fəˈsɔr i əl, -ˈsoʊr-, ˌprɒf ə-/ (Show IPA),
professorialism, noun
professorially, adverb
nonprofessorial, adjective
nonprofessorially, adverb
pseudoprofessorial, adjective
subprofessor, noun
unprofessorial, adjective
unprofessorially, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for professor
  • He had the studious intensity of a college professor and the hands of a dirt gardener.
  • Picture a college student appealing for a higher grade in his professor's office.
  • If every professor who backed a lunatic politician were to be sacked, half the interesting minds in academia would be lost.
  • The task of a business-school professor is to meet students somewhere in the middle.
  • Whatever you produce joins dozens of other efforts in a stack whose growing thickness doesn't exactly thrill your professor.
  • After the reviewers provide commentary, the journal editor forwards this feedback to the professor, who makes corrections.
  • It would have been the word of a professor against that of a total unknown.
  • The real lesson, of course, is that it's awesome to be a professor.
  • Many people who have tried it have discovered that it is much more fun for both the students and the professor.
  • A professor told him that he would be an author when pigs flew.
British Dictionary definitions for professor


the principal lecturer or teacher in a field of learning at a university or college; a holder of a university chair
(mainly US & Canadian) any teacher in a university or college See also associate professor, assistant professor, full professor
a person who claims skill and instructs others in some sport, occupation, etc
a person who professes his opinions, beliefs, etc
Derived Forms
professorial (ˌprɒfɪˈsɔːrɪəl) adjective
professorially, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Medieval Latin: one who has made his profession in a religious order, from Latin: a public teacher; see profess
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 professor

late 14c., "one who teaches a branch of knowledge," from Old French professeur (14c.) and directly from Latin professor "person who professes to be an expert in some art or science; teacher of highest rank," agent noun from profiteri "lay claim to, declare openly" (see profess). As a title prefixed to a name, it dates from 1706. Short form prof is recorded from 1838.

Professor. One professing religion. This canting use of the word comes down from the Elizabethan period, but is obsolete in England. [Thornton, "American Glossary," 1912]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for professor


  1. An orchestra leader (1940s+)
  2. The piano player in a saloon, brothel, etc: the job of regular professor (1930s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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