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verb (used with object)
  1. to lay claim to, often insincerely; pretend to: He professed extreme regret.
  2. to declare openly; announce or affirm; avow or acknowledge: to profess one's satisfaction.
  3. to affirm faith in or allegiance to (a religion, God, etc.).
  4. to declare oneself skilled or expert in; claim to have knowledge of; make (a thing) one's profession or business.
  5. to teach as a professor: She professes comparative literature.
  6. to receive or admit into a religious order.
verb (used without object)
  1. to make a profession, avowal, or declaration.
  2. to take the vows of a religious order.

Origin of profess

1400–50; late Middle English; back formation from professed
Related formspre·pro·fess, verb (used with object)un·pro·fess·ing, adjective

Synonyms for profess

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for profess


  1. to affirm or announce (something, such as faith); acknowledgeto profess ignorance; to profess a belief in God
  2. (tr) to claim (something, such as a feeling or skill, or to be or do something), often insincerely or falselyto profess to be a skilled driver
  3. to receive or be received into a religious order, as by taking vows

Word Origin for profess

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

Word Origin and History for profess

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