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1650s, "a drawing of the outline of anything," from older Italian profilo "a drawing in outline," from profilare "to draw in outline," from pro- "forth" (see pro-) + filare "draw out, spin," from Late Latin filare "to spin, draw out a line," from filum "thread" (see file (v.)). Meaning "a side view" is from 1660s. Meaning "biographical sketch, character study" is from 1734.
profile pro·file (prō'fīl')
A side view of an object or a structure, especially of the human head.
A formal summary or analysis of data, often in the form of a graph or table, representing distinctive features or characteristics.
Simple language for matching and scoring data. "User's Manual for the PROFILE System", Cambridge Computer Assoc (May 1974).
1. A control file for a program, especially a text file automatically read from each user's home directory and intended to be easily modified by the user in order to customise the program's behaviour. Used to avoid hard-coded choices (see also dot file, rc file).
2. A report on the amounts of time spent in each routine of a program, used to find and tune away the hot spots in it. This sense is often verbed. Some profiling modes report units other than time (such as call counts) and/or report at granularities other than per-routine, but the idea is similar.