pro·fess (prə-fĕs, prō-)
v. pro·fessed, pro·fess·ing, pro·fess·es
1. To affirm openly; declare or claim: "a physics major [who] professes to be a stickler when it comes to data" (Gina Maranto).
2. To make a pretense of; pretend: "top officials who were deeply involved with the arms sales but later professed ignorance of them" (David Johnston).
3. To practice as a profession or claim knowledge of: profess medicine.
4. To affirm belief in: profess Catholicism.
5. To receive into a religious order or congregation.
1. To make an open affirmation.
2. To take the vows of a religious order or congregation.
[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-1 + fatērī, to acknowledge; see bhā-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
pro·fessed·ly (-fĕsĭd-lē) adv.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.