noun, plural proc·ess·es [pros-es-iz, ‐uh-siz, ‐uh-seez or, esp. British, proh-ses-iz, proh-suh-seez] /ˈprɒs ɛs ɪz, ‐ə sɪz, ‐əˌsiz or, esp. British, ˈproʊ sɛs ɪz, ˈproʊ sə siz/.

  1. a systematic series of actions directed to some end: to devise a process for homogenizing milk.
  2. a continuous action, operation, or series of changes taking place in a definite manner: the process of decay.
  3. Law.
    1. the summons, mandate, or writ by which a defendant or thing is brought before court for litigation.
    2. the whole course of the proceedings in an action at law.
  4. Photography. photomechanical or photoengraving methods collectively.
  5. Biology, Anatomy. a natural outgrowth, projection, or appendage: a process of a bone.
  6. the action of going forward or on.
  7. the condition of being carried on.
  8. course or lapse, as of time.
  9. conk4(defs 1, 2).

verb (used with object)

  1. to treat or prepare by some particular series of actions, as in manufacturing.
  2. to handle (papers, records, etc.) by systematically organizing them, recording or making notations on them, following up with appropriate action, or the like: to process mail.
  3. to require (someone) to answer questionnaires, perform various tasks, and sometimes to undergo physical and aptitude classification examinations before the beginning or termination of a period of service: The army processes all personnel entering or leaving the service.
  4. to convert (an agricultural commodity) into marketable form by a special series of steps, as pasteurization.
  5. to institute a legal process against; prosecute.
  6. to serve a process or summons on.
  7. Computers. to carry out operations on (data or programs).
  8. conk4(def 3).

verb (used without object)

  1. to undergo the activities involved in hiring or firing personnel: The recruits expected to process in four days.


  1. prepared or modified by an artificial process or procedure: process cheese.
  2. noting, pertaining to, or involving photomechanical or photoengraving methods: a process print.
  3. Informal. of or relating to hair that has been conked, or chemically straightened.
  4. Movies. created by or used in process cinematography: a moving background on a process screen.


  1. (of food, oil, etc) not having undergone a process to preserve or purify


  1. a series of actions that produce a change or developmentthe process of digestion
  2. a method of doing or producing something
  3. a forward movement
  4. the course of time
    1. a summons, writ, etc, commanding a person to appear in court
    2. the whole proceedings in an action at law
  5. a natural outgrowth or projection of a part, organ, or organism
  6. a distinct subtask of a computer system which can be regarded as proceeding in parallel with other subtasks of the system
  7. (modifier) relating to the general preparation of a printing forme or plate by the use, at some stage, of photography
  8. (modifier) denoting a film, film scene, shot, etc, made by techniques that produce unusual optical effects

verb (tr)

  1. to subject to a routine procedure; handle
  2. to treat or prepare by a special method, esp to treat (food) in order to preserve itto process cheese
    1. to institute legal proceedings against
    2. to serve a process on
  3. photog
    1. to develop, rinse, fix, wash, and dry (exposed film, etc)
    2. to produce final prints or slides from (undeveloped film)
  4. computing to perform mathematical and logical operations on (data) according to programmed instructions in order to obtain the required information
  5. to prepare (food) using a food processor


  1. (intr) to proceed in or as if in a procession

n.early 14c., “fact of being carried on” (e.g. in process), from Old French proces “a journey; continuation, development; legal trial” (13c.) and directly from Latin processus “a going forward, advance, progress,” from past participle stem of procedere “go forward” (see proceed). Meaning “course or method of action” is from mid-14c.; sense of “continuous series of actions meant to accomplish some result” (the main modern sense) is from 1620s. Legal sense of “course of action of a suit at law” is attested from early 14c. v.11530s, “begin legal action against,” from Middle French processer “to prosecute,” from proces (see process (n.)). Meaning “prepare by special process” is from 1881, from the noun in English. Of persons, “to register and examine,” by 1935. Related: Processed; processing. v.2“to go in procession,” 1814, “A colloquial or humorous back-formation” from procession [OED]. Accent on second syllable. n. pl. proc•ess•es (prŏsĕs′ĭz, prōsĕs′-, prŏsĭ-sēz′, prōsĭ-)

  1. A series of actions, changes, or functions bringing about a result.
  2. Advance or progress, as of a disease.
  3. An outgrowth of tissue; a projecting part, as of a bone.
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