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

  • n. A side view of an object or structure, especially of the human head.
  • n. A representation of an object or structure seen from the side. See Synonyms at form.
  • n. An outline of an object. See Synonyms at outline.
  • n. Degree of exposure to public notice; visibility: preferred to keep a low profile.
  • n. A biographical essay presenting the subject's most noteworthy characteristics and achievements.
  • n. A formal summary or analysis of data, often in the form of a graph or table, representing distinctive features or characteristics: a psychological profile of a job applicant; a biochemical profile of blood.
  • n. Geology A vertical section of soil or rock showing the sequence of the various layers.
  • transitive v. To draw or shape a profile of.
  • transitive v. To produce a profile of.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the outermost shape, view, or edge of an object
  • n. The shape, view, or shadow of a person's head from the side; a side view.
  • n. A summary or collection of information, especially about a person
  • n. a specific space or field in which users can provide various types of personal information in software or Internet systems
  • n. reputation
  • n. the amount by which something protrudes
  • n. prominence; noticeability
  • n. 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.
  • n. character; totality of related characteristics; signature; status (especially in scientific, technical, or military uses)
  • v. to create a summary or collection of information, especially about a person
  • v. to act based on such a summary; especially, to act on a stereotype. See profiling.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An outline, or contour.
  • n. A human head represented sidewise, or in a side view; the side face or half face.
  • n.
  • n. A section of any member, made at right angles with its main lines, showing the exact shape of moldings and the like.
  • n. 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.
  • transitive v. to draw the outline of; to draw in profile, as an architectural member.
  • transitive v. To shape the outline of an object by passing a cutter around it.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A representation of the face in side view: as, profiles cut in black paper are called silhouettes.
  • n. In architecture, the outline or contour of anything, such as a building, a figure, a molding, as shown by a section through it.
  • n. In engineering and surveying, a vertical section through a work or a section of country, to show the elevations and depressions.
  • n. In fortification, a light wooden frame set up to guide workmen in throwing up a parapet.
  • n. The outline of a vertical section made through any part of a fortification in a direction perpendicular to its principal bounding lines.
  • n. In ceramics, a thin plate, as of zinc, in which is cut the outline of half of an object.
  • n. In theatrical, a wing having the outline of a tree. See profile, v. t., 3.

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

  • n. an outline of something (especially a human face as seen from one side)
  • n. degree of exposure to public notice
  • n. a vertical section of the Earth's crust showing the different horizons or layers
  • n. biographical sketch
  • n. an analysis (often in graphical form) representing the extent to which something exhibits various characteristics
  • v. represent in profile, by drawing or painting
  • v. write about


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).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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. (Wiktionary)



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  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Uselessness, what do you mean? We thrive on 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

  • 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

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

    November 18, 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

  • 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