the use of personal characteristics or behavior patterns to make generalizations about a person, as in gender profiling.
the use of these characteristics to determine whether a person may be engaged in illegal activity, as in racial profiling. Unabridged


the outline or contour of the human face, especially the face viewed from one side.
a picture or representation of the side view of a head.
an outlined view, as of a city or mountain.
an outline of an object, as a molding, formed on a vertical plane passed through the object at right angles to one of its principal horizontal dimensions.
a drawing or the like representing this.
Surveying. a vertical section of the ground surface taken parallel to a survey line. Compare cross section ( def 6 ). See diag. under contour map.
a verbal, arithmetical, or graphic summary or analysis of the history, status, etc., of a process, activity, relationship, or set of characteristics: a biochemical profile of a patient's blood; a profile of national consumer spending.
an informal biography or a concisely presented sketch of the life and character of a person.
a set of characteristics or qualities that identify a type or category of person or thing: a profile of a typical allergy sufferer.
the look, configuration, or lines of something: cars with a modern profile.
degree of noticeability; visibility.
Psychology. a description of behavioral and personality traits of a person compared with accepted norms or standards.
Theater. a flat stage property or scenic piece cut from a firm, thin material, as of beaverboard or plywood, and having an irregular edge resembling the silhouette of a natural object.
(in a gear) the outline of either end of a tooth.
Naval Architecture. a longitudinal elevation or section of a vessel. Compare outboard profile.
verb (used with object), profiled, profiling.
to draw a profile of.
to produce or present a history, description, or analysis of: The magazine will profile the candidate in its next issue.

1650–60; (noun) < Italian prof(f)ilo, noun derivative of profilare to delineate, outline, equivalent to pro- pro-1 + -filare, derivative of filo line, thread < Latin fīlum

profiler, noun
half-profile, noun

1. silhouette. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
profile (ˈprəʊfaɪl)
1.  a side view, outline, or representation of an object, esp of a human face or head
2.  a view or representation of an object, esp a building, in contour or outline
3.  a short biographical sketch of a subject
4.  a graph, table, or list of scores representing the extent to which a person, field, or object exhibits various tested characteristics or tendencies: a population profile
5.  a vertical section of soil from the ground surface to the parent rock showing the different horizons
6.  a.  a vertical section of part of the earth's crust showing the layers of rock
 b.  a representation of such a section
7.  the outline of the shape of a river valley either from source to mouth (long profile) or at right angles to the flow of the river (cross profile)
8.  to draw, write, or make a profile of
9.  to cut out a shape from a blank (as of steel) with a cutter
[C17: from Italian profilo, from profilare to sketch lightly, from pro-1 + Latin fīlum thread]

profiling (ˈprəʊˌfaɪlɪŋ)
the practice of categorizing people and predicting their behaviour according to particular characteristics such as race or age: racial profiling

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

1656, "a drawing of the outline of anything," from It. profilo "a drawing in outline," from profilare "to draw in outline," from pro- "forth" + filare "draw out, spin," from L.L. filare "to spin, draw out a line," from filum "thread." Meaning "biographical sketch, character study" is from 1734. The verb
is 1715, "to represent in profile," from the noun. Meaning "to summarize a person in writing" is from 1948. Profiling in the racial/ethnic stereotyping sense is recorded from c.1991.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

profile pro·file (prō'fīl')

  1. A side view of an object or a structure, especially of the human head.

  2. A formal summary or analysis of data, often in the form of a graph or table, representing distinctive features or characteristics.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
But genetic profiling could let physicians know immediately which patient will
  respond to which drug.
Thoughts on color management, and monitor and camera profiling, and color gamut
  would be really appreciated.
Today almost everyone views such blatant ethnic profiling as foolish and cruel.
Their practices are successfully based on profiling.
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