from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A side view of an object or structure, especially of the human head.
  • noun A representation of an object or structure seen from the side. synonym: form.
  • noun An outline of an object. synonym: outline.
  • noun Degree of exposure to public notice; visibility.
  • noun A biographical account presenting the subject's most noteworthy characteristics and achievements.
  • noun A set of characteristics that identify or are thought to identify a particular type of person.
  • noun A formal summary or analysis of data, often in the form of a graph or table, representing distinctive features or characteristics.
  • noun Geology A vertical section of soil or rock showing the sequence of the various layers.
  • transitive verb To draw or shape a profile of.
  • transitive verb To produce a profile of.
  • transitive verb To engage in the ethnic or racial profiling of (a person).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To draw with a side view; outline (any object or objects) so as to show a section as if cut perpendicularly from top to bottom.
  • In mech., to impart by means of a tool or tools a definite prescribed form to (pieces of wood or metal) by chiseling, milling, tiling, or like operations.
  • Theat., to cut (the edge of wings or set pieces) into irregular shapes to represent trees, rocks, etc.
  • noun An outline or contour; specifically, the largest contour or outline of anything, usually seen in or represented by a vertical longitudinal section or side view. For example, nearly all the fishes, butterflies, etc., figured in this dictionary are drawn in profile.
  • noun Hence The outline of the human face in a section through the median line: a side view; the side-face or half-face: as, a Greek profile.
  • noun A representation of the face in side view: as, profiles cut in black paper are called silhouettes.
  • noun In architecture, the outline or contour of anything, such as a building, a figure, a molding, as shown by a section through it.
  • noun In engineering and surveying, a vertical section through a work or a section of country, to show the elevations and depressions.
  • noun In fortification, a light wooden frame set up to guide workmen in throwing up a parapet.
  • noun The outline of a vertical section made through any part of a fortification in a direction perpendicular to its principal bounding lines.
  • noun In ceramics, a thin plate, as of zinc, in which is cut the outline of half of an object.
  • noun In theatrical, a wing having the outline of a tree. See profile, v. t., 3.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An outline, or contour.
  • noun (Paint & Sculp.) A human head represented sidewise, or in a side view; the side face or half face.
  • noun (Arch.) A section of any member, made at right angles with its main lines, showing the exact shape of moldings and the like.
  • noun (Civil Engin.) A drawing exhibiting a vertical section of the ground along a surveyed line, or graded work, as of a railway, showing elevations, depressions, grades, etc.
  • noun (Civil Engin.) paper ruled with vertical and horizontal lines forming small oblong rectangles, adapted for drawing profiles.
  • transitive verb to draw the outline of; to draw in profile, as an architectural member.
  • transitive verb (Mech.) To shape the outline of an object by passing a cutter around it.
  • transitive verb a jigging machine.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun countable the outermost shape, view, or edge of an object
  • noun countable The shape, view, or shadow of a person's head from the side; a side view.
  • noun countable A summary or collection of information, especially about a person
  • noun countable a specific space or field in which users can provide various types of personal information in software or Internet systems
  • noun uncountable reputation
  • noun uncountable the amount by which something protrudes
  • noun uncountable prominence; noticeability
  • noun archaeology A smoothed (e.g., troweled or brushed) vertical surface of an excavation showing evidence of at least one feature or diagnostic specimen; the graphic recording of such as by sketching, photographing, etc.
  • noun character; totality of related characteristics; signature; status (especially in scientific, technical, or military uses)
  • verb to create a summary or collection of information, especially about a person
  • verb to act based on such a summary; especially, to act on a stereotype. See profiling.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an outline of something (especially a human face as seen from one side)
  • noun degree of exposure to public notice
  • noun a vertical section of the Earth's crust showing the different horizons or layers
  • noun biographical sketch
  • noun an analysis (often in graphical form) representing the extent to which something exhibits various characteristics


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Italian profilo, from profilare, to draw in outline : pro-, forward (from Latin prō-; see pro–) + filare, to draw a line (from Medieval Latin fīlāre, to spin, from Latin fīlum, thread; see gwhī- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French profil ("a profile"), from Italian profilo ("a border"), later also proffilo ("a side-face, profile"), from pro-, from Latin pro ("before") + filo ("a line, stroke, thread"), from Latin filum ("a thread"); see file.


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  • Obviously, I haven't used Wordie in a while. But I seem to remember comments on user profiles showing up on the home page with all the other comments. Here on Wordnik, they don't appear where I'd expect, in the Zeitgeist stream. Is this a bug or a feature? Profile comments to tend to be of a more personal nature, but it'd still be nice to be notified when I have new ones without manually checking for them. Maybe a little alert in the bar across the top of the page?

    November 17, 2009

  • It's a bug. And the notifications stopped working when we were moved to Wordnik. (I'd like on-site notifications too!)

    November 17, 2009

  • List comments had stopped appearing there even back on Wordie Classic; that was mentioned on bugs about three months ago.

    November 18, 2009

  • Wow, this is what happens when I disappear: Things fall apart. I am apparently the last line of defense between you guys and the forces of entropy. ;-)

    November 18, 2009

  • Oh, you're right! I forgot I reported that. They could only be read on the main page but not on the "last 100 comment".

    November 18, 2009

  • Uselessness, what do you mean? We thrive on entropy.

    November 18, 2009

  • I'm not sure I like these private profiles that even logged-in people can't see, largely because the standard Wordie method of talking directly to someone (to say things like 'this might interest you' or 'stop the spam or suffer the Wordie Treatment') is to leave a profile comment. An elective class of members who can't be greeted like that feels rather un-Wordie.

    If people don't want their profiles to be scrutinised, couldn't they just not fill them in? Or are people's lists of lists, tags and favourites now considered sensitive information? In which case maybe finer-grained privacy options would do the trick, for when someone feels like making a 'Gay BDSM slang unique to Leeds, U.K.' list.

    November 18, 2009

  • It's not like there's any info kept in a user's profile that is required. If you don't want to share it, don't type it. Problem solved.

    November 19, 2009

  • As it turns out, even private profiles' lists of lists aren't secret:

    here's chained_bear's, and here's lasciviousturtle's. So the only real use of setting one's profile to private is to stop people talking to one.

    November 19, 2009

  • I had mine set to private until recently because it showed every page I viewed and that gave me a bit of the willies. Looks as though that no longer shows, though. That right, John?

    November 24, 2009