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

  • noun A college or university teacher who ranks above an associate professor.
  • noun A teacher or instructor.
  • noun One who professes.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who professes; one who openly declares or makes profession of specific belief or views, of adherence to a certain course of action or way of life, or of knowledge or skill in any particular calling.
  • noun One who makes open profession of religious faith and conversion, and attaches himself to some religious denomination.
  • noun A public teacher in a university, especially one to whom this title has been formally granted.
  • noun In a loose use, any one who publicly teaches or exercises an art or occupation for pay, as a dancing-master, phrenologist, balloonist, juggler, acrobat, boxer, etc.
  • noun The name of an artificial fly used in angling.

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

  • noun One who professed, or makes open declaration of, his sentiments or opinions; especially, one who makes a public avowal of his belief in the Scriptures and his faith in Christ, and thus unites himself to the visible church.
  • noun One who professed, or publicly teaches, any science or branch of learning; especially, an officer in a university, college, or other seminary, whose business it is to read lectures, or instruct students, in a particular branch of learning; as a professor of theology, of botany, of mathematics, or of political economy.

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

  • noun A teacher or faculty member at a college or university.
  • noun A higher ranking for a teacher or faculty member at a college or university. Abbreviated Prof.
  • noun An honorific title for a higher ranking teacher. (Capitalised)
  • noun archaic One who professes.
  • noun US, slang A pianist in a saloon, brothel, etc.
  • noun The puppeteer who performs a Punch and Judy show; a Punchman.

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

  • noun someone who is a member of the faculty at a college or university


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

[Middle English professour, from Old French professeur, from Latin professor, from professus, past participle of profitērī, to profess; see profess.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman proffessur, from Latin professor ("declarer, person who claims knowledge"), from the past participle stem of profiteor ("profess").



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Some boys go to college and eventually succeed in getting out. Others go to college and never succeed in getting out. The latter are called professors."

    - H. L. Mencken.

    September 29, 2008

  • I've seen two citations in the last week where a high school teacher was called a professor -
    Second citation was in this youtube video at 1:55 "Professor, Professor"

    Is calling High School teachers 'professor' a new thing?

    April 8, 2014

  • My understanding of that prank in the video is that it was from a university-level class (I'd say "college-level" class, but that could confuse matters even more).

    I can think of times when "professor" is used as a form of antonomasia. For instance, there's a scene in "The Philadelphia Story" where Katherine Hepburn's character keeps calling Jimmy Stewart's character "professor," even though he's just a reporter. (

    April 8, 2014