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[noun prog-res, -ruh s or, esp. British, proh-gres; verb pruh-gres] /noun ˈprɒg rɛs, -rəs or, esp. British, ˈproʊ grɛs; verb prəˈgrɛs/
a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage:
the progress of a student toward a degree.
developmental activity in science, technology, etc., especially with reference to the commercial opportunities created thereby or to the promotion of the material well-being of the public through the goods, techniques, or facilities created.
advancement in general.
growth or development; continuous improvement:
He shows progress in his muscular coordination.
the development of an individual or society in a direction considered more beneficial than and superior to the previous level.
Biology. increasing differentiation and perfection in the course of ontogeny or phylogeny.
forward or onward movement:
the progress of the planets.
the forward course of action, events, time, etc.
an official journey or tour, as by a sovereign or dignitary.
verb (used without object), progress
to go forward or onward in space or time:
The wagon train progressed through the valley. As the play progressed, the leading man grew more inaudible.
to grow or develop, as in complexity, scope, or severity; advance:
Are you progressing in your piano studies? The disease progressed slowly.
in progress, going on; under way; being done; happening:
The meeting was already in progress.
Origin of progress
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English progresse (noun) < Latin prōgressus a going forward, equivalent to prōgred-, stem of prōgredī to advance (prō- pro-1 + -gredī, combining form of gradī to step; see grade) + -tus suffix of v. action
Related forms
unprogressed, adjective
1. advance, progression. 4. increase; betterment. 11. proceed; develop, improve, grow, increase.
1. regression. 11. regress. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for progress
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She looks upon it rather as one of the reasonable conditions of progress.

  • All were bare and disorderly, because, as the woman explained, house-cleaning was in progress.

    Days Off Henry Van Dyke
  • How, he inquires, can we seize the thread of the progress of the human mind?

  • You cannot make economy a crime, progress a misdemeanour, or efficiency a felony!

    The Root of Evil Thomas Dixon
  • There is no accounting for tastes, we say, and in saying that we despair of progress in the arts.

British Dictionary definitions for progress


noun (ˈprəʊɡrɛs)
movement forwards, esp towards a place or objective
satisfactory development, growth, or advance: she is making progress in maths
advance towards completion, maturity, or perfection: the steady onward march of progress
(modifier) of or relating to progress: a progress report
(biology) increasing complexity, adaptation, etc, during the development of an individual or evolution of a group
(Brit) a stately royal journey
in progress, taking place; under way
verb (prəˈɡrɛs)
(intransitive) to move forwards or onwards, as towards a place or objective
to move towards or bring nearer to completion, maturity, or perfection
Word Origin
C15: from Latin prōgressus a going forwards, from prōgredī to advance, from pro-1 + gradī to step
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 progress

late 14c., "a going on, action of walking forward," from Old French progres (Modern French progrès), from Latin progressus "a going forward," from past participle of progredi (see progression).

In early use in English especially "a state journey by royalty." Figurative sense of "growth, development, advancement to higher stages" is from c.1600. To be in progress "underway" is attested by 1849. Progress report attested by 1865.


1590s in the literal sense; c.1600 in the figurative sense, from progress (n.). OED says the verb was obsolete in English 18c. but was reformed or retained in America and subsequently long regarded in Britain as an Americanism. Related: Progressed; progressing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with progress


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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