Meaning of “professional” in the English Dictionary

"professional" in British English

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professionaladjective

uk /prəˈfeʃ.ən.əl/ us /prəˈfeʃ.ən.əl/

B2 relating to work that needs special training or education:

Chris, you're a nurse, so can I ask your professional opinion on bandaging ankles?
Both doctors have been charged with professional misconduct (= bad or unacceptable behaviour in their work).

B1 approving having the qualities that you connect with trained and skilled people, such as effectiveness, skill, organization, and seriousness of manner:

It would look more professional if the letter was typed.
She always looks very professional in her smart suits.
You've done a very professional job stripping that floor!

B1 used to describe someone who does a job that people usually do as a hobby:

She's a professional dancer/photographer.
He's a runner who's just turned professional.

having the type of job that is respected because it involves a high level of education and training:

Room for rent in shared house - would suit professional person.
a bar full of young professional types in suits

More examples

  • We're engaging the services of a professional administrator.
  • He's one of the highest-earning professional golfers in the world.
  • These two books will be especially useful for editors, journalists, and other professional users of the language.
  • He was an amateur singer until the age of 40, when he turned professional.
  • This was her final professional match, and she wanted to end her career in a blaze of glory.

professionalnoun [ C ]

uk /prəˈfeʃ.ən.əl/ us /prəˈfeʃ.ən.əl/

C1 a person who has the type of job that needs a high level of education and training:

health professionals

informal someone who has worked hard in the same type of job for a long time and has become skilled at dealing with any problem that might happen:

I thought the whole meeting was going to fall apart but you rescued it like a true professional!
the consummate professional

B2 a person who does a job that people usually do as a hobby:

He's only been playing football as a professional for two years.

More examples

  • She responded to the situation like a true professional.
  • This tennis tournament is open to both amateurs and professionals.

(Definition of “professional” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"professional" in American English

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professionalnoun [ C ]

us /prəˈfeʃ·ə·nəl/

a person who has a job that needs skill, education, or training:

Don’t you wish you had hired a professional to paint your house?
Many of these homes have been restored by young professionals.

professionaladjective

us /prəˈfeʃ·ə·nəl/

done as a job, or relating to a skilled type of work:

a professional athlete
professional sports
He spent his professional career at the University of Pennsylvania.

Professional also means having the qualities of skilled and educated people, such as effectiveness and seriousness of manner:

Wearing jeans to work is not looked upon as being professional.
professionally
adverb us /prəˈfeʃ·ə·nəl·i/

I always wanted to sing professionally.

(Definition of “professional” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"professional" in Business English

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professionaladjective

uk /prəˈfeʃənəl/ us

[ before noun ] related to work that needs a high level of education or special training:

professional advice/judgments/opinions You should seek professional advice before doing this.
a professional background/career/life She has spent the bulk of her professional life working in the public sector.
professional experience/qualifications/training The importance of professional qualifications varies enormously between different industries.
a professional association/body/organization
professional services/skills/standards

having the type of job that is respected because it involves a high level of education and training:

Many of those who want to rent are single, professional people who do not want to share.

having the qualities that you connect with trained people, such as being organized and showing a high standard of work:

It would look more professional if the letter were typed.
He has behaved in a very professional way.
a professional environment/relationship

suitable for a person working in a particular profession:

professional accountability/conduct/misconduct He is now facing charges of serious professional misconduct.

also informal pro doing an activity or a job to earn money, rather than as a hobby:

a professional athlete
pro football/sports

professionalnoun [ C ]

uk /prəˈfeʃənəl/ us informal pro

a person who has the type of job that needs a high level of education and special training:

It's important to gather a team of professionals such as a lawyer, an accountant, and a financial planner to help draw up a plan.
health/health care/medical professionals
IT/finance/marketing professionals
dedicated/skilled/trained professionals

someone who has worked hard in the same type of job for a long time, and has a lot of skill and knowledge:

a true/consummate professional
He's a real pro.
If you have a large amount of money to invest, it's better to leave it to the pros.

someone who does an activity or a job to earn money, rather than as a hobby:

This will be his first game as a professional.

(Definition of “professional” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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