[ noun prog-res, -ruhs or, especially British, proh-gres; verb pruh-gres ]
See synonyms for: progressprogresses on

  1. a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage: the progress of a student toward a degree.

  2. developmental activity in science, technology, etc., especially with reference to the commercial opportunities created thereby or to the promotion of the material well-being of the public through the goods, techniques, or facilities created.

  1. advancement in general.

  2. growth or development; continuous improvement: He shows progress in his muscular coordination.

  3. the development of an individual or society in a direction considered more beneficial than and superior to the previous level.

  4. Biology. increasing differentiation and perfection in the course of ontogeny or phylogeny.

  5. forward or onward movement: the progress of the planets.

  6. the forward course of action, events, time, etc.

  7. an official journey or tour, as by a sovereign or dignitary.

verb (used without object)pro·gress [pruh-gres] /prəˈgrɛs/
  1. 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.

  2. to grow or develop, as in complexity, scope, or severity; advance: Are you progressing in your piano studies? The disease progressed slowly.

Idioms about progress

  1. in progress, going on; under way; being done; happening: The meeting was already in progress.

Origin of progress

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English progresse (noun), from Latin prōgressus “a going forward,” equivalent to prōgred-, stem of prōgredī “to advance” (prō- “advancing, projecting forward” + -gredī, combining form of gradī “to step”; see pro-1, grade) + -tus suffix of verb action

word story For progress

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.

Other words for progress

Opposites for progress

Other words from progress

  • un·pro·gressed, adjective

Words Nearby progress Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use progress in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for progress


  1. movement forwards, esp towards a place or objective

  2. satisfactory development, growth, or advance: she is making progress in maths

  1. advance towards completion, maturity, or perfection: the steady onward march of progress

  2. (modifier) of or relating to progress: a progress report

  3. biology increasing complexity, adaptation, etc, during the development of an individual or evolution of a group

  4. British a stately royal journey

  5. in progress taking place; under way

  1. (intr) to move forwards or onwards, as towards a place or objective

  2. to move towards or bring nearer to completion, maturity, or perfection

Origin of 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

Other 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.