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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for professing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Do not shudder at the idea of changing your religion, for I insist on your professing none other but the Musulman.

    Byron Richard Edgcumbe
  • This task is laid on the shoulders of all professing Christians.

    Expositions of Holy Scripture Alexander Maclaren
  • The fact of the ruin of the professing Church does not touch it.

    The Assembly of God C. (Charles) H. (Henry) Mackintosh
  • professing to do good to all as you have opportunity, be consistent in this matter.

    Select Temperance Tracts American Tract Society
  • “No,” said Tom, professing to be deeply interested in the unclosing of the small red fist.

  • We professing law must speak reverently of kings and potentates.

British Dictionary definitions for professing


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 professing



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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