Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To affirm openly; declare or claim.
  • intransitive verb To make a pretense of; pretend.
  • intransitive verb To practice as a profession or claim knowledge of.
  • intransitive verb To affirm belief in.
  • intransitive verb To receive into a religious order or congregation.
  • intransitive verb To make an open affirmation.
  • intransitive verb To take the vows of a religious order or congregation.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To declare openly; make open declaration of; avow or acknowledge; own freely; affirm.
  • To acknowledge or own publicly; also, to lay claim openly to the character of.
  • To affirm faith in or allegiance to: as, to profess Christianity.
  • To make a show of; make protestations of; make a pretense of; pretend.
  • To announce publicly one's skill in, as a science or a profession; declare one's self versed in: as, to profess surgery.
  • In the Rom. Cath. and Anglican churches, to receive into a religious order by profession.
  • To present the appearance of.
  • Synonyms and To declare, allege, aver, avouch.
  • To lay claim to.
  • To declare openly; make any declaration or assertion.
  • To enter into the religious state by public declaration or profession.
  • To declare or pretend friendship.

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

  • transitive verb To make open declaration of, as of one's knowledge, belief, action, etc.; to avow or acknowledge; to confess publicly; to own or admit freely.
  • transitive verb To set up a claim to; to make presence to; hence, to put on or present an appearance of.
  • transitive verb To present to knowledge of, to proclaim one's self versed in; to make one's self a teacher or practitioner of, to set up as an authority respecting; to declare (one's self to be such)
  • intransitive verb To take a profession upon one's self by a public declaration; to confess.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To declare friendship.

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

  • verb state freely
  • verb practice as a profession, teach, or claim to be knowledgeable about
  • verb admit (to a wrongdoing)
  • verb confess one's faith in, or allegiance to
  • verb take vows, as in religious order
  • verb state insincerely
  • verb receive into a religious order or congregation

Etymologies

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

[Middle English professen, to take vows, from Old French profes, that has taken a religious vow (from Medieval Latin professus, avowed) and from Medieval Latin professāre, to administer a vow, both from Latin professus, past participle of profitērī, to affirm openly : pro-, forth; see pro– + fatērī, to acknowledge; see bhā- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman professer, and its source, the participle stem of Latin profitērī, from pro- + fatērī ("to confess, acknowledge").

Examples

  • For instance, when these churchmen again profess and put their signatures to those anti-liberal documents, then we know that they too have got out of their Hegelianism.

    His Lordship Gives an Update

  • For instance, when these churchmen again profess and put their signatures to those anti-liberal documents, then we know that they too have got out of their Hegelianism.

    Archive 2006-11-01

  • The system of Optimism, to which I assent & which I therefore profess, is not without difficulties, great & many. but every other system appears to me to have more

    Letter 211

  • Do we not therein profess to be in friendship, and to have fellowship, with him?

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume VI (Acts to Revelation)

  • The cause of God's people, and of that holy religion which they profess, is a righteous cause, otherwise the righteous God would not appear for it; yet it may for a time be run down, and seem as if it were lost.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume IV (Isaiah to Malachi)

  • Before we proceed further, however, it may be necessary that we should give a brief attention to the lexicography of these two terms profess and confess, as English words; especially as our translators have rendered the Greek word omologia by these two words, indifferently, as though they were equivalents; and thus the English reader is

    Confession a Fundamental Doctrine of the Gospel Economy:

  • I am better pleased that it should be so; in leaving me there, they humour what I profess, which is to settle and wholly contain myself within myself.

    The Essays of Montaigne — Volume 14

  • I am better pleased that it should be so; in leaving me there, they humour what I profess, which is to settle and wholly contain myself within myself.

    The Essays of Montaigne — Complete

  • People who, based on previous movie preferences, could reliably be expected to like the film can't stand it; those who have shown no interest in similar titles profess to love it.

    Telegraph.co.uk: news business sport the Daily Telegraph newspaper Sunday Telegraph

  • Any profession does--if you "profess," expect to be challenged, especially by your peers.

    On Why Sarah Fine Left Teaching

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