[ noun prog-res, -ruhs or, esp. British, proh-gres; verb pruh-gres ]
/ noun ˈprɒg rɛs, -rəs or, esp. British, ˈproʊ grɛs; verb prəˈgrɛs /


verb (used without object) pro·gress [pruh-gres] /prəˈgrɛs/

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

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

un·pro·gressed, adjective

Word story

The English word progress (both noun and verb) has a curious history. The noun, which has been in English since the 15th century, ultimately comes from the Latin noun prōgressus “forward movement, advance (to a better place or state), growth, increase (as of years).” (Latin prōgressus is from the verb prōgredī “to come or go forward, advance, proceed, mature, grow old”).
The verb progress entered English in the second half of the 16th century in a functional shift of the noun to a verb (a functional shift, also called functional change, is a change in the grammatical function of a word, such as the noun fun having taken on adjective meanings).
In the 18th century, the verb progress was no longer common in Britain, but was used with regularity in the United States (George Washington, in a letter of 1791 writes, “The business of laying out the city [the new capital] is progressing.”) When the verb reentered British usage about 1800, it was regarded as an Americanism.
From its first appearance in English, the noun had the meaning “onward movement in space,” as well as the figurative sense “advancement to a further or higher stage”; from this developed the more specific reference to social and economic reform leading to a better state or condition. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for progress

British Dictionary definitions for progress


noun (ˈprəʊɡrɛs)

verb (prəˈɡrɛs)

(intr) to move forwards or onwards, as towards a place or objective
to move towards or bring nearer to completion, maturity, or perfection

Word Origin for progress

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

Idioms and Phrases with progress


see in progress.

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