• synonyms


[ pruh-fes-er ]
/ prəˈfɛs ər /


a teacher of the highest academic rank in a college or university, who has been awarded the title Professor in a particular branch of learning; a full professor: a professor of Spanish literature.
any teacher who has the rank of professor, associate professor, or assistant professor.
a teacher.
an instructor in some art or skilled sport: a professor of singing; a professor of boxing.
a person who professes his or her sentiments, beliefs, etc.




lecturer, assistant, fellow, tutor, educator, instructor, teacher, principal, pundit, sage, egghead, savant, brain, pedagogue, prof, quant

Nearby words

professional corporation, professional foul, professional standards review organization, professionalism, professionalize, professor, professorate, professorial, professoriate, professorship, proffer

Origin of professor

1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin prōfessor one who has taken the vows of a religious order, Latin: a public lecturer, equivalent to prō- pro-1 + -fet-, combining form of fatērī to acknowledge, declare + -tor -tor, with tt > ss
Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for professor

British Dictionary definitions for professor


/ (prəˈfɛsə) /


the principal lecturer or teacher in a field of learning at a university or college; a holder of a university chair
mainly US and Canadian any teacher in a university or collegeSee also associate professor, assistant professor, full professor
a person who claims skill and instructs others in some sport, occupation, etc
a person who professes his opinions, beliefs, etc
Derived Formsprofessorial (ˌprɒfɪˈsɔːrɪəl), adjectiveprofessorially, adverb

Word Origin for professor

C14: from Medieval Latin: one who has made his profession in a religious order, from Latin: a public teacher; see profess
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 professor



late 14c., "one who teaches a branch of knowledge," from Old French professeur (14c.) and directly from Latin professor "person who professes to be an expert in some art or science; teacher of highest rank," agent noun from profiteri "lay claim to, declare openly" (see profess). As a title prefixed to a name, it dates from 1706. Short form prof is recorded from 1838.

Professor. One professing religion. This canting use of the word comes down from the Elizabethan period, but is obsolete in England. [Thornton, "American Glossary," 1912]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper