[pros-es; especially British proh-ses]
See more synonyms for process on
noun, plural proc·ess·es [pros-es-iz, ‐uh-siz, ‐uh-seez or, esp. British, proh-ses-iz, proh-suh-seez] /ˈprɒs ɛs ɪz, ‐ə sɪz, ‐əˌsiz or, esp. British, ˈproʊ sɛs ɪz, ˈproʊ sə siz/.
  1. a systematic series of actions directed to some end: to devise a process for homogenizing milk.
  2. a continuous action, operation, or series of changes taking place in a definite manner: the process of decay.
  3. Law.
    1. the summons, mandate, or writ by which a defendant or thing is brought before court for litigation.
    2. the whole course of the proceedings in an action at law.
  4. Photography. photomechanical or photoengraving methods collectively.
  5. Biology, Anatomy. a natural outgrowth, projection, or appendage: a process of a bone.
  6. the action of going forward or on.
  7. the condition of being carried on.
  8. course or lapse, as of time.
  9. conk4(defs 1, 2).
verb (used with object)
  1. to treat or prepare by some particular series of actions, as in manufacturing.
  2. to handle (papers, records, etc.) by systematically organizing them, recording or making notations on them, following up with appropriate action, or the like: to process mail.
  3. to require (someone) to answer questionnaires, perform various tasks, and sometimes to undergo physical and aptitude classification examinations before the beginning or termination of a period of service: The army processes all personnel entering or leaving the service.
  4. to convert (an agricultural commodity) into marketable form by a special series of steps, as pasteurization.
  5. to institute a legal process against; prosecute.
  6. to serve a process or summons on.
  7. Computers. to carry out operations on (data or programs).
  8. conk4(def 3).
verb (used without object)
  1. to undergo the activities involved in hiring or firing personnel: The recruits expected to process in four days.
  1. prepared or modified by an artificial process or procedure: process cheese.
  2. noting, pertaining to, or involving photomechanical or photoengraving methods: a process print.
  3. Informal. of or relating to hair that has been conked, or chemically straightened.
  4. Movies. created by or used in process cinematography: a moving background on a process screen.

Origin of process

1275–1325; Middle English proces (noun) (< Old French) < Latin prōcessus a going forward, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + ced-, variant stem of cēdere to yield (see cede) + -tus suffix of v. action; see cession
Related formspro·ces·su·al [pro-sesh-oo-uhl or, esp. British, proh-] /prɒˈsɛʃ u əl or, esp. British, proʊ-/, adjectiveo·ver·proc·ess, verb (used with object)pre·proc·ess, verbre·proc·ess, verb (used with object)sem·i·proc·essed, adjectivetrans·proc·ess, nounun·proc·essed, adjective

Synonyms for process

See more synonyms for on
1. operation. Process, procedure, proceeding apply to something that goes on or takes place. A process is a series of progressive and interdependent steps by which an end is attained: a chemical process. Procedure usually implies a formal or set order of doing a thing, a method of conducting affairs: parliamentary procedure. Proceeding (usually pl.) applies to what goes on or takes place on a given occasion or to the records of the occasion: Proceedings of the Royal Academy of Sciences.

Pronunciation note

The word process, an early 14th century French borrowing, has a regularly formed plural that adds -es to the singular. This plural, as in similar words like recesses and successes, has traditionally been pronounced [-iz] /-ɪz/: [pros-es-iz, proh-ses-] /ˈprɒs ɛs ɪz, ˈproʊ sɛs-/ or [pros-uh-siz, proh-suh-] /ˈprɒs ə sɪz, ˈproʊ sə-/. Recent years have seen the increasing popularity of an [-eez] /-ˌiz/ pronunciation for processes, perhaps by mistaken analogy with such plurals as theses and hypotheses, with which it has no connection. Although this newer pronunciation is increasingly common, it is regarded by some educated speakers as an affectation. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for processes

Contemporary Examples of processes

Historical Examples of processes

British Dictionary definitions for processes


  1. a series of actions that produce a change or developmentthe process of digestion
  2. a method of doing or producing something
  3. a forward movement
  4. the course of time
    1. a summons, writ, etc, commanding a person to appear in court
    2. the whole proceedings in an action at law
  5. a natural outgrowth or projection of a part, organ, or organism
  6. a distinct subtask of a computer system which can be regarded as proceeding in parallel with other subtasks of the system
  7. (modifier) relating to the general preparation of a printing forme or plate by the use, at some stage, of photography
  8. (modifier) denoting a film, film scene, shot, etc, made by techniques that produce unusual optical effects
verb (tr)
  1. to subject to a routine procedure; handle
  2. to treat or prepare by a special method, esp to treat (food) in order to preserve itto process cheese
    1. to institute legal proceedings against
    2. to serve a process on
  3. photog
    1. to develop, rinse, fix, wash, and dry (exposed film, etc)
    2. to produce final prints or slides from (undeveloped film)
  4. computing to perform mathematical and logical operations on (data) according to programmed instructions in order to obtain the required information
  5. to prepare (food) using a food processor

Word Origin for process

C14: from Old French procès, from Latin prōcessus an advancing, from prōcēdere to proceed


  1. (intr) to proceed in or as if in a procession

Word Origin for process

C19: back formation from procession
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

Word Origin and History for processes



early 14c., "fact of being carried on" (e.g. in process), from Old French proces "a journey; continuation, development; legal trial" (13c.) and directly from Latin processus "a going forward, advance, progress," from past participle stem of procedere "go forward" (see proceed).

Meaning "course or method of action" is from mid-14c.; sense of "continuous series of actions meant to accomplish some result" (the main modern sense) is from 1620s. Legal sense of "course of action of a suit at law" is attested from early 14c.



1530s, "begin legal action against," from Middle French processer "to prosecute," from proces (see process (n.)). Meaning "prepare by special process" is from 1881, from the noun in English. Of persons, "to register and examine," by 1935. Related: Processed; processing.



"to go in procession," 1814, "A colloquial or humorous back-formation" from procession [OED]. Accent on second syllable.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

processes in Medicine


[prŏsĕs′, prōsĕs′]
n. pl. proc•ess•es (prŏsĕs′ĭz, prōsĕs′-, prŏsĭ-sēz′, prōsĭ-)
  1. A series of actions, changes, or functions bringing about a result.
  2. Advance or progress, as of a disease.
  3. An outgrowth of tissue; a projecting part, as of a bone.
Related formsprocess adj.process v.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.