Definition of professional in US English:



  • 1Relating to or connected with a profession.

    ‘young professional people’
    ‘the professional schools of Yale and Harvard’
    • ‘I belong to a professional association and we have a little get together once a month to chat and catch up, etc.’
    • ‘They say that corporate America does not comprise a bunch of gangs, that professional people do not belong to gangs.’
    • ‘But ultimately, the credit for the way he has dealt with his personal and professional problems belongs entirely to him.’
    • ‘Her voice was strong and clear, with a lilting quality to it that one might think belonged to a professional vocalist.’
    • ‘Of the professional organizations that I belong, it is the ASA that I call my academic home.’
    • ‘Currently, some 1.2 million professional men and women belong to more than 29,600 clubs worldwide.’
    • ‘You should moreover bear in mind that your immediate senior managers at that time belonged to the same professional discipline as yourself.’
    • ‘They are not professional singers and belonged to different fields.’
    • ‘Ask if the company belongs to a professional pest control association.’
    • ‘In our professional lives, we make choices about belonging to a professional association.’
    white-collar, executive, non-manual
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    1. 1.1 Worthy of or appropriate to a professional person; competent, skillful, or assured.
      ‘his professional expertise’
      ‘their music is both memorable and professional’
      • ‘Expertise and professional competence in anything comes from time doing the work, either professionally or as a hobby.’
      • ‘Do they just focus on professional reputation and managerial competence, as measured by endorsements?’
      • ‘He worked hard as attorney general to represent the state in a competent and professional manner.’
      • ‘Key objectives for our faculty are to obtain such recognition and ensure the highest professional standards of competence and ethical integrity.’
      • ‘The Greens have a pretty good website, with a competent and professional layout, and of course, a blog.’
      • ‘As hunting success became an index of personal or professional worth, intense competition developed over the testimonials of prowess.’
      • ‘An experienced guerilla fighter with a professional competence in civil engineering could think of a good deal more.’
      • ‘This works to the advantage of clients and of the administration of justice. It also fosters professional competition.’
      • ‘They were professional, competent, experienced commanders, and most spoke English.’
      expert, accomplished, skilful, adept, masterly, masterful, excellent, fine, polished, finished, skilled, proficient, competent, capable, able, efficient, experienced, practised, trained, seasoned, slick, businesslike, deft, dexterous
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  • 2Engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.

    ‘a professional boxer’
    • ‘He turned professional two years ago after reigning as Britain's amateur champion for four years from 1998 to 2002.’
    • ‘The main character is a professional executioner, but he prefers to get drunk rather than perform his civic duties.’
    • ‘Morgan was playing amateur golf in Somerset and the West until he turned professional last year.’
    • ‘He switched to billiards and a few years ago turned professional.’
    • ‘He became an amateur boxer in 1932 and two years later turned professional.’
    • ‘Certainly, Tiger Woods seems happy with their services given that he's been with them since he turned professional.’
    • ‘So, instead of pursuing his Olympic dream in the amateurs, Smith turned professional, in 1994.’
    • ‘Peter had been a professional boxer, and as an amateur had taken Jim Watt, who latterly would become the world lightweight champion, to the verge of defeat.’
    • ‘His decision has spread dismay in the amateur ranks, and his coach Joe Gallagher believes the Salford boxer might have turned professional too early.’
    • ‘Before long, he was playing the leads in Hamlet and Macbeth at Scottish Youth Theatre, then turned professional.’
    paid, salaried, non-amateur, full-time
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    1. 2.1informal, derogatory Denoting a person who persistently makes a feature of a particular activity or attribute.
      ‘a professional naysayer’
      • ‘A professional northerner, the episodes she featured in seemed like a cross-promotion for spending winter in Blackpool.’
      • ‘He does still receive financial support from them (he's a "professional student") (read: ambitionless bum), and they're much more likely to be able to get my money for me than he is.’
      • ‘They do not want to spend their careers as professional naysayers, forever doing nothing.’
      • ‘And that is because no sooner are they announced than they provoke widespread fear and condemnation from an army of professional naysayers.’
      • ‘The main story mode has been revamped since 2003, and now features professional idiot Bam Margera.’


  • 1A person engaged or qualified in a profession.

    ‘professionals such as lawyers and surveyors’
    • ‘The course faculty has been drawn from a panel of highly qualified professionals working in the field.’
    • ‘There is a demand in advanced countries and a shortage in the supply of qualified professionals.’
    • ‘A physician writes that an RN is the only professional qualified to lead nursing practice in the OR.’
    • ‘Psychologists are among the most qualified professionals to perform this assessment.’
    • ‘Many of them are qualified professionals: teachers, engineers, social workers.’
    • ‘There are few qualified teachers or other professionals who are able to work on a semi-voluntary basis.’
    • ‘The Institute represents tax professionals such as lawyers, accountants and agents.’
    • ‘Qualified and caring professionals must now make that decision for them.’
    • ‘Qualified professionals with successful careers have high credit ratings and often get into trouble as well.’
    • ‘With Shanghai's rapid economic growth, qualified professionals are much needed.’
    white-collar worker, professional worker, office worker
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    1. 1.1 A person engaged in a specified activity, especially a sport or branch of the performing arts, as a main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.
      • ‘This will probably be my last year as a full-time professional.’
      • ‘But in actual terms he's only played as a professional for two seasons.’
      • ‘Its stars were by then highly paid professionals, touring the English-speaking world.’
      • ‘During the first six months of 2002, I won four tournaments, my first victories as a professional.’
      • ‘His last club was Floriana, who play in the Maltese League where he was a full-time professional.’
      • ‘Pekerman was a journeyman professional whose playing career during the 1970s was cut short by a knee injury.’
      • ‘His advice to you, apart from the actual playing of the game, but more about emerging as a young professional within the sport?’
      • ‘‘For once I holed a few putts,’ said Fox as he celebrated his first victory as a professional.’
      • ‘Seven other professional cyclists and seven professionals from other sports were also targeted.’
      • ‘Charles showed some talent on the rugby field before becoming a racing driver and feels that he would have become a professional in that sport if he had not given it up for racing.’
      professional player, non-amateur, paid player
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    2. 1.2 A person competent or skilled in a particular activity.
      ‘she was a real professional on stage’
      • ‘It is the scissor work, above all, which separates the real professional from the novice.’
      • ‘Doc Carroll was a real gentleman and a true professional.’
      • ‘After about a week of sleeping in an alley you'll look and smell like a real professional.’
      • ‘Amazingly, by train and taxi, Abrams made the fight, the sign of a real professional.’
      • ‘It's about time we became real professionals and left the kiddy stuff to the high school actors.’
      • ‘That is hard to keep that tempo of operation up, even for a real professional.’
      • ‘He is a real professional, currently a senior executive at McGraw-Hill, a very close friend of mine.’
      • ‘So you're a real professional by now when it comes to these ordination ceremonies.’
      • ‘They can be real professionals and expose wrongdoing even if it involves their leaders.’
      • ‘ITV's top commentator Clive Tyldesley is an intelligent professional with a light touch and a rich humour.’
      expert, master, maestro, past master, trooper, adept, virtuoso, old hand, skilled person, authority
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