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profession, n.

Brit. Hear pronunciation/prəˈfɛʃn/
U.S. Hear pronunciation/prəˈfɛʃən/
Hear pronunciation/proʊˈfɛʃən/
Forms:  Middle English persescion (transmission error), Middle English profectyon (probably transmission error), Middle English profescion, Middle English profescioun, Middle English profesioune, Middle English professione, Middle English professioun, Middle English professiun, Middle English professyoun, Middle English proffeschoun, Middle English proffessyoun, Middle English profiseon, Middle English–1500s professyon, Middle English– profession; Scottish pre-1700 professione, pre-1700 professioun, pre-1700 professiowne, pre-1700 professyown, pre-1700 professyowne, pre-1700 proffessioun, pre-1700 1700s– profession. (Show Less)
Frequency (in current use):  Show frequency band information
Origin: Of multiple origins. Partly a borrowing from French. Partly a borrowing from Latin. Etymons: French profession; Latin professiōn-, professiō.
Etymology: < (i) Anglo-Norman professioun, Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French profession (French profession  ) declaration of faith (1155 as professiun  ), vows taken when entering a religious order (c1174), condition, occupation (1362 as prophecie  ; 1404 as prophecion  ; a1417 as profession  ; 1495 as profection  ), action of teaching publicly, professorship (1596),
and its etymon (ii) classical Latin professiōn-, professiō open declaration, avowal, public declaration of one's person and property, public register of people and property, vocation or occupation that one publicly avows, in post-classical Latin also vow made by a person entering a religious order, particular condition, declaration of faith, faith (4th cent.), promise (9th cent.), monastic order (9th cent.; from c1160 in British sources), monastic rule (1135), function or office of a university professor (1302, 1577 in British sources; from 15th cent. in continental sources) < profess-  , past participial stem of profitērī  profess v.   + -iō  -ion suffix1.
Compare Old Occitan professio (13th cent.; Occitan profession), Catalan professió (14th cent.), Spanish profesión (mid 13th cent. as profession), Italian professione (a1321).
 I. Senses relating to the declaration of faith, principles, etc.

 a. The declaration, promise, or vow made by a person entering a religious order; (hence) the action of entering such an order; the fact or occasion of being professed in a religious order.

?c1225  (?a1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. C.vi) (1972) 4   Nan ancre..ne schal bi mi read makien professiun, þet is, bihaten heste alswa ase heste, buten þreo þinges..obedience, chastete, & studestaðeluestninge.
1340   Ayenbite (1866) 225   Huanne þe beheste is solempne ase be hand of prelat oþer be profession of religion.
c1390   G. Chaucer Shipman's Tale 1345   This swere I yow on my professioun.
a1425   Ordination of Nuns (Lansd.) in E. A. Kock Rule St. Benet (1902) 143   Sho sall rede hir professiun..& þe nouyce sal make a crosse on þe buke of hir profession.
c1451   J. Capgrave Life St. Gilbert (1910) 72 (MED)   Of þis same mannes handes took Gilbert þe habite of profession.
a1500  (c1400)    Vision of Tundale (Adv.) (1843) 1938 (MED)   They wer gud relygyous As freris, monkys, nonnis, and channonis That welle heldon hor proffessyounis.
?1550   J. Bale Apol. agaynste Papyst 22   I frire N. make my profession and promyse obedience to God, to S. Frances..to live without propre and in chastite accordynge to the rule of the sayd ordre.
1603   P. Holland tr. Plutarch Morals 1288   The searching after such science, is as it were a profession and entrance into religion.
1671   A. Woodhead tr. Life St. Teresa i. iv. 13   When I consider the manner of my Profession, and the great resolution and gust wherewith I made it.
1691   A. Wood Athenæ Oxonienses I. 181   He was called to Rome to take upon him the profession of the four vows.
1772   Ann. Reg. 1771 151/1   Madame Louisa of France took the veil of professions at the convent of the Carmelites.
1797   A. Radcliffe Italian I. xi. 308   The novice kneeling before him, made her profession.
1871   E. A. Freeman Hist. Norman Conquest IV. xvii. 89   He had received the second profession of Maurilius, the Primate who still for a short time longer filled the metropolitan throne of Rouen.
1885   W. E. Addis & T. Arnold Catholic Dict. (ed. 3) (at cited word)   A religious or regular profession is ‘a promise freely made and lawfully accepted, whereby a person of the full age required, after the completion of a year of probation, binds him- (or her-) self to a particular religious institute approved by the Church’.
1912   Catholic Encycl. XIV. 516/1   After her profession in the following year she became very seriously ill.
1995   Times 3 Oct. 18/8   Deaths... On October 1st 1995 Dom Anthony Howard Williams, Monk of Elmore Abbey, aged 91 years and in the 46th year of his profession.

?c1225—1995(Hide quotations)


 b. Any solemn declaration, promise, or vow.

c1300   Life & Martyrdom Thomas Becket (Harl. 2277) (1845) l. 1405 (MED)   Mi professioun ich habbe to Jesu Crist ido.
a1387   J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1869) II. 115 (MED)   Þe bisshop of Meneuia..made non professioun..to non oþer chirche.
c1400  (a1376)    W. Langland Piers Plowman (Trin. Cambr. R.3.14) (1960) A. i. 98 (MED)   Dauid..dubbide kniȝtes, Made hem to swere..to serue treuþe..Þat is, þe professioun apertly þat apendiþ to kniȝtes [c1400 C text ii. 97: Trewely to take and treweliche to fyȝte, Ys þe profession and þe pure ordre þat apendeþ to knyȝtes].
?c1430  (c1400)    J. Wyclif Eng. Wks. (1880) 190 (MED)   Þes prestis..stiren hym to wraþþe..þat han rentes &..lordischipes & parische chirchis approprid to hem..for singuler profession maade to foolis & in cas to fendis of helle.
1582   G. Whetstone Heptameron Ciuill Disc. vi. sig. U.iij   In lofty loue we found dainger: in base loue lothesomnesse and inconstancy..so that now wee shall be dryuen to renounce our profession.
1686   J. Scott Christian Life: Pt. II II. vii. 882   The Church..makes a visible profession of fealty to him.
1711   H. C. De Luzancy Serm. preach’d at Assizes County of Essex 9   Not only in a private but a publick Profession of Obedience to all those Rules of Decency which they conceive to be most for his Honour.
1874   New Englander (New Haven, Connecticut) Jan. 26   That constitution made no profession of allegiance to the King of England, nor did it acknowledge any dependence on the English Parliament.
1999   Associated Press (Nexis) 28 Jan.   Religious parties passed the law requiring a profession of allegiance to the Orthodox Rabbinate.

c1300—1999(Hide quotations)


 a. A particular order of monks, nuns, or other professed persons. Obsolete.

a1393   J. Gower Confessio Amantis (Fairf.) ii. 2383 (MED)   If thou er this Hast ben of such professioun, Discovere thi confessioun.
c1395   G. Chaucer Summoner's Tale 1925   So forth al the gospel may ye seen Wher it be likker oure professioun [v.r. profescioun] Or hirs that swymmen in possessioun.
c1450   J. Capgrave Life St. Augustine (1910) 1 (MED)   A gentill woman, desired of me..to translate hir..oute of Latyn, þe lif of Seynt Augustyn..Sche desired þis þing of me..because þat I am of his profession.
a1500   tr. A. Chartier Traité de l'Esperance (Rawl.) (1974) 46 (MED)   Thei be ashamed to were the habyte and kepe thestate of their professione.

a1393—a1500(Hide quotations)


 b.   Christ's profession   n. Obsolete Christianity.

c1475   Antichrist & Disciples in J. H. Todd Three Treat. J. Wycklyffe (1851) p. cxvii   Eche man þat liueþ not after þe reule of Cristis professioun.
c1480  (a1400)    St. George 696 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) II. 196   George wes þe trewest knycht to crist ymang al þat lyf mycht, þat vndir knychtly habit kyd cristis professione had vnhyde.
1621   R. Brathwait Natures Embassie (1641) 85   Soile to his soule, and so to Christs profession, For He no Christ profest, but thought't a scorne That God made man.
1694   J. Strype Memorials T. Cranmer 20   Even at the Beginning of Christs profession Diotrephes desired gerere primatum in Ecclesia, as saith S. Iohn in his last Epistle.

c1475—1694(Hide quotations)


3. Particular character, nature, or condition. Also: a person's disposition. Obsolete. rare.

▸ ?a1439   J. Lydgate Fall of Princes (Bodl. 263) i. 4768 (MED)   Crafft and nature sue the professioun [Fr. profession, L. professionem] Bi thordynaunce set in ther courage; And ech man folweth his condicioun.
▸ ?1440   tr. Palladius De re Rustica (Duke Humfrey) (1896) iii. 64 (MED)   Se the profession Of euery wyne & wherein they myscheue.
c1450–4   W. Paston in Paston Lett. & Papers (2004) I. 150   viij thinggis..byn full nessessarij to knowe to come to þe tru persescion [read profescion] of þis langage.

?a1439—c1450(Hide quotations)


 a. The declaration of belief in and obedience to religion, or of acceptance of and conformity to the faith and principles of any religious community; (hence) the faith or religion which a person professes.

a1513   J. Irland Meroure of Wyssdome (1965) II. 50   Quhethir the apostlis of Jhesu maid this creid in professioun of the faith of Jhesu or nocht.
1531   W. Tyndale Expos. Fyrste Epist. St. Jhon sig. A.ii   To haue this profession wrytten in thyne herte, is to consente vnto the lawe that it is righteous.
1549   Bk. Common Prayer (STC 16267) Celebr. Holye Communion f. lxiiij   Graunt vnto all..that they maye exchew those thinges that be contrary to their profession, and folow all such thinges as be agreable to thesame.
1601   W. Parry New Disc. Trauels Sir A. Sherley 5   Certaine Persians..Pagans by profession.
a1656   J. Hales Golden Remains (1659) i. 39   True profession without honest conversation, not only saves not, but increases our weight of punishment.
1689   W. Popple tr. J. Locke Let. conc. Toleration 27   It is in vain for an Unbeliever to take up the outward shew of another mans Profession.
1728   E. Haywood tr. M.-A. de Gomez Belle Assemblée (1732) II. 15   Several who made profession of the Protestant Religion.
1776   E. Gibbon Decline & Fall I. xvi. 550   Could we suppose that the Bishop of Carthage had employed the profession of the Christian faith only as the instrument of his avarice or ambition, it was still incumbent on him to support the character which he had assumed.
1845   W. L. Garrison in F. Douglass Narr. Life F. Douglass Pref. p. xii   A slaveholder's profession of Christianity is a palpable imposture. He is a felon of the highest grade.
1876   J. B. Mozley Serm. preached Univ. of Oxf. ii. 45   As the standard of goodness rises the standard of profession must rise too.
1910   New Eng. Mag. July 588   A convict who works the churches and is insincere in his profession of religion is called a ‘mission stiff’.
1969   H. A. R. Gibb Mohammedanism (rev. ed.) iv. 37   The famous shahāda or profession of faith..: ‘There is but one God, Mohammed is the Apostle of God,’ is not found in this composite anywhere in the Koran.
2005   Ashville (N. Carolina) Citizen-Times (Nexis) 12 May 9 a   What a novel idea. Your life should match your religious profession... Imagine that, Christians living out with integrity what they claim to believe.

a1513—2005(Hide quotations)


 b. A religious system, denomination, or body. Now rare except as merged with 4a.

1600   J. Pory tr. J. Leo Africanus Geogr. Hist. Afr. vii. 293   They embrace no religion at all, being neither Christians, Mahumetans, nor Iewes, nor of any other profession [L. fidem].
1646   J. Gregory Notes & Observ. iii. 20   Whatsoever the moderne practice is, the ancient must be to bury towards Jerusalem..for all professions buried towards the place they worshiped.
1705   Boston News-let. 5 Nov. 2/1   Some will not count it remarkable, that there should be Bad people among the Quakers, as well as among the People of other Professions.
a1714   Earl of Cromarty Hist. Family Mackenzie in W. Fraser Earls of Cromartie (1876) II. 502   The King, perswadit by many Popish Lords, wes to bring back the Roman profession.
1839   J. Martineau Stud. Christianity (1858) 131   How think himself safe in a profession, which was without temple, without priest, without altar, without victim?
1850   A. McGilvray Poems 59   The kirk-attender always has A most prodigious Advantage o'er the stupid ass Who's not religious. Belong, at least, to some profession, And try to get among the session.
1904   R. Small Hist. U.P. Congregat. i. 72   At the close of his Arts course, he ‘left his profession’ and joined the Relief.

1600—1904(Hide quotations)


 5. The action or an act of declaring, affirming, or avowing an opinion, belief, custom, etc., or of laying open claim to a particular quality or feeling. In later use sometimes with suggestion of insincerity or falsity, or with implied contrast to practice or fact: cf. profess v. 3a, professed adj. 2.

1526   W. Bonde Pylgrimage of Perfection i. sig. Ciii   Outher by his owne feyth & profession, or els in the feyth of their spiritual parentes.
1565   in J. H. Burton Reg. Privy Council Scotl. (1877) 1st Ser. I. 370   Thai mak plane professioun that the establissing of religioun will nocht content thame.
1617   F. Moryson Itinerary i. 142   Having made profession of my great respect to him.
1662   H. More Coll. Philos. Writings (ed. 2) Pref. Gen. p. xxvi   That I may not seem injurious to my self, nor give scandal unto others by this so free profession.
1692   tr. C. de Saint-Évremond Misc. Ess. 353   There are Friends of Profession, that take a pride in following our Party at random, and upon all Occasions.
1740–1   Bp. J. Butler Serm. before Lords 30 Jan. in Wks. (1874) II. 256   These false professions of virtue..must have been originally taken up in order to deceive.
1782   F. Burney Cecilia III. v. v. 69   Cecilia..found little difficulty in returning her friendly professions.
1817   J. Mill Hist. Brit. India III. vi. i. 50   Here, too, profession was at variance with fact.
1868   E. A. Freeman Hist. Norman Conquest II. viii. 218   Such a man was already a saint in practice, if not in profession.
1871   R. Browning Balaustion 88   Nor she, who makes profession of my birth And styles herself my mother, neither she Bore me.
1904   H. James Golden Bowl II. xxxviii. 288   Her profession of trust in his mistress had been an act of conformity exquisitely calculated.
1963   M. L. King Strength to Love iv. 26   One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying.
1990   N.Y. Rev. Bks. 14 June 45/4   Did he believe in his scientific tinkerings, or mean his professions of ignorance?

1526—1990(Hide quotations)


6. Roman History. The public registration of people and property. Obsolete.

1856   C. Merivale Hist. Romans under Empire IV. xxxix. 428   The census of the provincials..bore a different name from that of the citizens. The provincial profession, as it was designated, extended wherever the land tax was exacted.

1856—1856(Hide quotations)

 II. Senses relating to professional occupation.

 a. An occupation in which a professed knowledge of some subject, field, or science is applied; a vocation or career, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification. Also occasionally as mass noun: occupations of this kind.In early use applied spec. to the professions of law, the Church, and medicine, and sometimes extended also to the military profession.

a1425   Dialogue Reason & Adversity (Cambr.) (1968) 25 (MED)   Plato was taken of þefes, sold & so mad þral..for he was a philosophore, he was betere þan his biȝere, A gentil professioun þat made þe seruaunt more þenne his lord.
?1541   R. Copland Galen's Fourth Bk. Terapeutyke sig. Ajv, in Guy de Chauliac's Questyonary Cyrurgyens   The parties of the art of Medycyne..can not be seperated one from the other without the dommage and great detryment of all the medicynall professyon.
1581   G. Pettie tr. S. Guazzo Ciuile Conuersat. (1586) i. A v b   Such as I am, (whose profession should chiefelie bee armes).
1605   F. Bacon Of Aduancem. Learning ii. sig. Aa3   Amongst so many great Foundations of Colledges in Europe, I finde strange that they are all dedicated to Professions, and none left free to Artes and Sciences at large.  View more context for this quotation
1682   J. Dryden Religio Laici Pref. sig. a2   Speculations, which belong to the Profession of Divinity.
1711   J. Addison Spectator No. 21. ¶1   The three great Professions of Divinity, Law, and Physick.
1728   J. Gay Beggar's Opera i. viii. 10   The Captain looks upon himself in the Military Capacity, as a Gentleman by his Profession.
1788   E. Gibbon Decline & Fall (1846) IV. xliv. 186   Arms, eloquence, and the study of the civil law, promoted a citizen to the honours of the Roman state; and the three professions were sometimes more conspicuous by their union in the same character.
1839   F. D. Maurice Lect. Educ. Mid. Classes 186   Profession in our country..is expressly that kind of business which deals primarily with men as men, and is thus distinguished from a Trade, which provides for the external wants or occasions of men.
1870   L. Oliphant Piccadilly ii. 46   The Church..compared with other professions..holds out no inducements for young men of family.
1888   W. Besant Fifty Years Ago xix. 262   New professions have come into existence, and the old professions are more esteemed. It was formerly a poor and beggarly thing to belong to any other than the three learned professions.
1942   G. M. Trevelyan Eng. Social Hist. xvii. 548   The Crimean War had one serious and beneficent consequence, the institution of nursing as a profession for trained women of a better type than Mrs. Gamp.
1978   K. Hudson Jargon of Professions 8   In order to be recognised as a profession, an occupation..has to satisfy these requirements: 1. Entry to it..must be permitted only to those who have satisfied an examining and supervisory body they have reached a satisfactory standard of training [etc.].
2004   H. Kennedy Just Law (2005) vii. 159   Soon only posh kids will be able to afford such study and training and the Bar will once again become the profession of the cosseted and privilege.

a1425—2004(Hide quotations)


 b. More widely: any occupation by which a person regularly earns a living. N.E.D. (1908) notes: ‘Now usually applied to an occupation considered to be socially superior to a trade or handicraft; but formerly, and still in vulgar (or humorous) use, including these.’

?1552   Duncan Laideus' Test. in C. Innes Black Bk. Taymouth (1855) 151   My maister houshald wes heich Oppressioun, Reif my stewart,..Murthure, Slauchtir, ay of ane professioun.
1577   B. Googe tr. C. Heresbach Foure Bks. Husbandry i. f. 5v   Princes..delighted with the profession of husbandry.
1600   J. Pory tr. J. Leo Africanus Geogr. Hist. Afr. App. 364   Their profession is to robbe and steale from their neighbours, and to make them slaues.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Julius Caesar (1623) i. i. 5   Know you not (Being Mechanicall) you ought not walke Vpon a labouring day, without the signe Of your Profession? Speake, what Trade art thou?  View more context for this quotation
1665   R. Boyle Occas. Refl. v. vii. sig. Ll3v   This Gard'ner..inherits..of Adam..that Primitive profession that imploy'd and recompenc'd his Innocence.
1688   R. Holme Acad. Armory iii. 326/1   A Graver..is also used for many uses about the Plummers Profession.
1740   C. Cibber Apol. Life C. Cibber vii. 139   The different Conduct of these rival Actors may be of use, to others of the same Profession.
1762   H. Walpole Vertue's Anecd. Painting I. iv. 59   Another serjeant-painter in this reign was John Brown, who if he threw no great lustre on his profession, was at least a benefactor to it's professors.
1827   P. Cunningham Two Years New S. Wales II. xxix. 225   The veteran thief assumes the same sort of lofty port and high-toned consequence over the juniors of the profession, that the veteran warrior..does.
1898   Westm. Gaz. 17 Nov. 7/3   He is doing a very nice trade in the muffin ‘profession’.
1919   P. G. Wodehouse Their Mutual Child i. vii. 84   Kirk's painting had always been more of a hobby with him than a profession.
1960   C. Day Lewis Buried Day ii. 44   A fisherman..whose beard and profession combined to make me identify him with St. Peter.
1990   J. Burchill in Sex & Sensibility (1992) 123   These days, actors agonize over their piddling profession as though it was a cross between winning the Second World War and working with lepers.
2005   N.Y. Times (National ed.) 13 Mar. i. 23/1   While no group tracks the number of parent coaches, a profession that did not appear to exist until a few years ago, coaching schools are reporting a surge in enrollment.

?1552—2005(Hide quotations)


 c. by profession: by way of an occupation; professionally.

1580   H. Gifford Posie of Gilloflowers i. sig. F.2v   Both of them by profession were souldiers.
1639   Distiller of London Pref. 10   Our duty requires us all (that are Distillers by profession and Trade) to acknowledge [etc.].
a1681   G. Wharton Fasts & Festivals in Wks. (1683) 28   Saint Matthew, who being..a Publican or Toll-customer by Profession, became a Disciple, an Apostle, an Evangelist, and Martyr.
1733   T. Gent Antient & Mod. Hist. Rippon 49   Joseph her Spouse, by Profession a Carpenter.
1782   Lady Llanover in M. Delany Autobiogr. & Corr. (1862) 2nd Ser. III. 80   To apologize for his niece's being an embroidress by profession.
1806   J. Beresford Miseries Human Life I. vii. 148   The raillery of some wag by profession.
1895   tr. E. Ferri Criminal Sociol. 255   The hardened recidivists, who ought to be considered as..criminals by profession.
1927   C. A. Lindbergh ‘We’ ix. 172   I am not an author by profession, and my pen could never express the gratitude which I feel towards the American people.
2003   Yours Oct. 77/3   Another Sunday-morning barber..was a gamekeeper and rat-catcher by profession.

1580—2003(Hide quotations)


 d. The body of people engaged in a particular occupation or calling; sometimes with defining word, as legal, medical, etc.With the: actors or other performing artists collectively.

1610   A. Willet Hexapla in Danielem 52   To take reuenge of the whole profession, and so to punish one for an others offence.
1678   S. Butler Hudibras: Third Pt. iii. iii. 222   Lawyers are too wise a Nation, T' expose their Trade to Disputation:..In which whoever wins the day, The whole Profession's sure to Pay.
1700   T. Brown Amusem. Serious & Comical vi. 67   A Company of the Common Profession in Dishabilie.
1765   H. Walpole Vertue's Anecd. Painting (ed. 2) III. 45   Emulation seldom unites a whole profession against one, unless he is clearly their superior.
1837   C. Dickens Pickwick Papers xxx. 316   The public offices of the legal profession, where writs are issued..and numerous other ingenious little machines put in motion.
1850   W. M. Thackeray Pendennis II. iv. 34   Mrs. Bolton was herself in the profession once, and danced at the Wells.
1899   Westm. Gaz. 25 Nov. 2/1   A heavy tragedian and his leading lady..confronting a provincial landlady. ‘Do you let apartments to—ah—the profession?’
1972   P. G. Wodehouse Pearls, Girls, & Monty Bodkin ix. 138   He was suffering from an ailment known to the medical profession as the heeby-jeebies.
1994   Globe & Mail (Toronto) 26 Feb. a2/6   The firm... recently appointed its first part-time partner, among the first in the profession.
2002   Washington Post (Home ed.) 15 Apr. c1/4   The prestigious international honor [is] the architecture profession's equivalent of a Nobel Prize.

1610—2002(Hide quotations)

1888   R. Kipling In Black & White 78   Lalun is a member of the most ancient profession in the world.
1914   C. Mackenzie Sinister St. iv. ii. 862   There's only Miss Carlyle who's in the profession and comes in sometimes a little late.
1936   Times Lit. Suppl. 18 Apr. 338/4   Blackham has attempted a comprehensive survey of the activities of womankind from ‘the oldest profession’ to the magistracy.
1977   Time 19 Dec. 61/1   Even the members of the world's oldest profession have drifted elsewhere to more prosperous locations.
2005   Inter Press Service (Nexis) 8 July   When Father Herman Klein-Hitpass decries prostitution, it's not about the moral pitfall of sex work that drives him to denounce the ‘profession’.

1888—2005(Hide quotations)

III. Senses relating to the office of professor.

 8. Chiefly Scottish. The function or office of professor in a university or college; a professorship. Also: public teaching by a professor. Obsolete.

1579   Acts Parl. Scotl. III. 179/2   And depriuatioun of sic as salbe thocht..not doing thair dewitie faythfullie and diligentlie in that professioun quhairvnto they happyne to be electit [sc. in St Andrews University].
1580   J. Lyly Euphues & his Eng. (new ed.) f. 110v   There are..in this Island two famous Uniuersities, the one Oxforde, the other Cambredge, both for the profession of all sciences.
1621   Acts Parl Scotl. (1816) IV. 682/2   Vnderstanding the alteratioun..within the vniuersitie of Sanctandros to haif bred suche vncertantie in professioun of sciences and obseruatioun of ordoures [etc.].
1656   T. Hobbes Six Lessons vi. 60 in Elements Philos.   There will need but one House, and the endowment of a few Professions.
1708   Chamberlayne's Magnæ Britanniæ Notitia (1737) ii. iii. x. 443   There is a new Profession erected in the University of Edinburgh, for the Law of Nature and Nations.
1712   T. Hearne Remarks & Coll. (1889) III. 391   His Entrance upon the Profession of the Greek tongue.
1719   in A. Morgan Univ. Edinb. Charters (1937) 170   A profession of universall history is extreamly necessary..this profession being very much esteemed and the most attended at all the universitys abroad.
1799   J. Sinclair Statist. Acct. Scotl. XXI. 24   When any of the higher offices became vacant, those who were in the lower were commonly advanced a step; and the new chosen regent had the profession of Greek for his department.

1579—1799(Hide quotations)



  attributive, in sense 1.

profession-book   n. Obsolete

a1450   Ordination of Nuns (Vesp.) in E. A. Kock Rule St. Benet (1902) 147   Scho sal..lay hir profession-boke a-pon þe auter.
1857   G. Oliver Coll. Hist. Catholic Relig. Cornwall 313   From the profession-book of Lambspring Abbey, I learn that he was born at Ramsbury.

a1450—1857(Hide quotations)


profession-ring   n. Obsolete

a1450   St. Edith (Faust.) (1883) 3217 (MED)   Þe ladyes..tokon seynt Wultrude profession-rynge, & abouȝt his nekke þey hongedone hit þo.
1489   Will of Marg. Darcy (P.R.O.: PROB. 11/8) f. 168v   My profession Ryng.

a1450—1489(Hide quotations)


profession-making   n. Obsolete

1654   J. Owen Doctr. Saints Persev. in Wks. (1853) XI. 600   Such an one may forsake the external profession of Christianity, or cease profession-making.

1654—1654(Hide quotations)




  ˈprofession-like adj. rare

1677   R. Gilpin Dæmonol. Sacra i. xvi. 123   That under a smoother and profession-like behaviour, (when they are stirred up to Persecute) the rigour might seem just.
1975   Amer. Polit. Sci. Rev. 69 1038/1   The least profession-like faculty sectors are most receptive to faculty unionism.

1677—1975(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, June 2007; most recently modified version published online December 2022).

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