Definition of profess in English:



[with object]
  • 1Claim that one has (a quality or feeling), especially when this is not the case.

    ‘he had professed his love for her only to walk away’
    with infinitive ‘I don't profess to be an expert’
    with complement ‘he professed himself amazed at the boy's ability’
    • ‘Pupils at Paxcroft Primary School are preparing to send and receive cards in the run-up to Saturday, when thousands of people across west Wiltshire will profess their true feelings to loved ones.’
    • ‘In the television show, Homer responds by ineptly professing his love for Marge, who later goes to him at the nuclear power plant where he works.’
    • ‘Anyhow, Ross is onscreen now, professing his love for Rachel, although she's in another room.’
    • ‘He also wrote her long letters professing his undying love.’
    • ‘Not a day went by that she did not wish to go back in time to deny Nelson, and profess her true feelings.’
    • ‘Lauren Bacall stars as Lucy, about to marry Kyle when Rock Hudson's Mitch professes his undying love.’
    • ‘They talked far more to the media, sponsors and loved ones - professing eternal devotion - than to each other (clocking up 5000 minutes on the phone).’
    • ‘Throughout the years consumers have professed their lifelong love of America's number one mustard.’
    • ‘Whenever hurt feelings are professed, there is also a prepared story that ‘gives reason’ for the assumption of political emotion.’
    • ‘Carr often professes admiration for the sage detachment of the ancient Roman emperor-philosopher Marcus Aurelius.’
    • ‘She can smell them out at 100 paces - even if they appear initially to be bearing roses and professing undying love.’
    • ‘He died as a tyrant should, surrounded by people professing their love and loyalty and all wishing him dead.’
    • ‘Katia, who often professes her strong feelings for David and calls him ‘my love,’ is gradually coded as the romantic of the couple with near-manic depressive outbursts of sudden weeping, laughing, and anger.’
    • ‘After that very day, where they professed their feelings for each other, Matthew and I spent almost all of all time together, alone.’
    • ‘Ask him about it, though, and he still professes amazement that he was even allowed on to the stage.’
    • ‘Haslam professes an enthusiasm for lots of stuff all the time, and that's certainly been a keynote of Schvedtar's tenure on Edmonton stages.’
    • ‘I don't pretend to profess great grief (and it's nobody's business if I feel it anyway), but it feels disrespectful not to mark it and also pleasing to have the opportunity to do so.’
    • ‘Acknowledging that professing a liking for ska can be a rock band's death wish, O'Dell stands by their tastes.’
    • ‘Raikkonen still professes confidence in his team, but admits that testing has proved problematic.’
    • ‘So the object of my desires has just professed her true feelings for me, what now?’
    declare, announce, proclaim, assert, state, affirm, avow, maintain, protest, aver, vow
    claim, pretend, purport, allege, make a pretence of, lay claim, make out that
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    1. 1.1archaic Have or claim knowledge or skill in (a subject or accomplishment)
      ‘though knowing little of the arts I professed, he proved a natural adept’
  • 2Affirm one's faith in or allegiance to (a religion or set of beliefs)

    ‘a people professing Christianity’
    • ‘Do I mean everybody who professes an orthodox creed, and bows his head at the belief?’
    • ‘Alanon does not profess a religion, nor is it organized as a group.’
    • ‘Then there is the major dichotomy between those who practice and profess any religion and those who are just born into them.’
    • ‘This mass migration has brought peoples professing various religions to live in areas where those religions have not been known widely.’
    • ‘This is precisely because it is a multi-religious country with substantial segments of the population professing various religions like Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and Buddhism.’
    • ‘It is not a matter of belonging to a religion or professing one's faith, it is a matter of orientation in life and participation in its mysteries.’
    • ‘Article 18 protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief.’
    • ‘More than one-third of the people profess no religion.’
    • ‘It starts to dawn on you that the only reason you profess the religion you do is because of the influence of your parents and your upbringing.’
    • ‘In the Antilles, the masters, from father to son, have been professing the Christian religion ever since slavery was established there.’
    affirm one's faith in, state one's faith in, affirm one's allegiance to, make a public declaration of, declare publicly, avow, confess, acknowledge publicly
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    1. 2.1be professed Be received into a religious order under vows.
      ‘she entered St Margaret's Convent, and was professed in 1943’
      • ‘She entered the religious life in Tasmania in January 1935 and was professed on February 2 1938.’
      • ‘His baptismal name was Tadhg, but when he was professed in Louvain as a Franciscan lay brother, he took the name of Míchéal.’
      • ‘He was professed in 1965 in the Capuchin Order, a religious order dedicated to following the traditions of St. Francis of Assisi.’
      • ‘She entered the Order in 1964 and was professed in April of 1967.’
  • 3humorous, archaic Teach (a subject) as a professor.

    ‘a professor—what does he profess?’
    • ‘Foolish us with our medieval notions of professors professing away, surrounded by their students, all engaged in an effort to understand the world we live in and change it for the better.’
    • ‘While Schama professes history at Columbia University, he was born in London, was educated at Cambridge, used to teach at Oxford, and has a long-term deal with the BBC.’
    • ‘He earned his doctorate in Roman history at the Sorbonne, and has professed that subject for many years at the University of Paris.’


Middle English (as be professed ‘be received into a religious order’): from Latin profess- ‘declared publicly’, from the verb profiteri, from pro- ‘before’ + fateri ‘confess’.