a. A side view of an object or structure, especially of the human head.
b. A representation of an object or structure seen from the side. See Synonyms at form.
2. An outline of an object. See Synonyms at outline.
3. Degree of exposure to public notice; visibility: preferred to keep a low profile.
4. A biographical account presenting the subject's most noteworthy characteristics and achievements.
a. A set of characteristics that identify or are thought to identify a particular type of person: The police assembled a profile of the car thief.
b. A formal summary or analysis of data, often in the form of a graph or table, representing distinctive features or characteristics: a biochemical profile of blood.
6. Geology A vertical section of soil or rock showing the sequence of the various layers.
tr.v. pro·filed, pro·fil·ing, pro·files
1. To draw or shape a profile of.
2. To produce a profile of: profiled the singer in a magazine article.
3. To engage in the ethnic or racial profiling of (a person).
[Italian profilo, from profilare, to draw in outline : pro-, forward (from Latin prō-; see PRO-1) + filare, to draw a line (from Medieval Latin fīlāre, to spin, from Latin fīlum, thread; see gwhī- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
(click for a larger image)profile
c. 1475 Portrait of a Young Woman by Antonio del Pollaiolo (1430?-1498)
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 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.