AskDefine | Define professional

Dictionary Definition

professional adj
1 engaged in a profession or engaging in as a profession or means of livelihood; "the professional man or woman possesses distinctive qualifications"; "began her professional career after the Olympics"; "professional theater"; "professional football"; "a professional cook"; "professional actors and athletes" [ant: nonprofessional]
2 of or relating to or suitable as a profession; "professional organizations"; "a professional field such as law"
3 characteristic of or befitting a profession or one engaged in a profession; "professional conduct"; "professional ethics"; "a thoroughly professional performance" [ant: unprofessional]
4 of or relating to a profession; "we need professional advice"; "professional training"; "professional equipment for his new office"
5 engaged in by members of a profession; "professional occupations include medicine and the law and teaching"


1 a person engaged in one of the learned professions [syn: professional person]
2 an athlete who plays for pay [syn: pro] [ant: amateur]
3 an authority qualified to teach apprentices [syn: master]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. A person who belongs to a profession
  2. A person who earns his living from a specified activity
  3. An expert.


A person who belongs to a profession
  • Dutch: beroeps, professional
  • Russian: профессионал
A person who earns his living from a specified activity
An expert
  • Dutch: deskundige, expert
  • German: Profi
  • Swedish: proffs, expert


  1. Of, pertaining to, or in accordance with the standards of a profession
  2. That is carried out for money, especially as a livelihood
  3. In the context of "by extension": Expert

Derived terms


Of, pertaining to, or in accordance with the standards of a profession
  • Czech: profesionální
  • Dutch: beroeps-, professioneel
  • German: professionell
  • Italian: professionale
  • Russian: профессиональный
  • Swedish: professionell
That is carried out for money, especially as a livelihood
  • German: berufsmäßig, professionell
  • Russian: профессиональный
  • Swedish: professionell
  • Dutch: deskundig
  • German: professionell
  • Russian: профессиональный
  • Swedish: professionell





nl-noun profesionals
  1. a professional practicioner of a trade, métier...
  2. an expert in a (professional) field

Related terms

Extensive Definition

''This article is about people called professionals. For the movie, see The Professional or Leon. For the TV series, see The Professionals.
A professional can be either a person in a profession (certain types of skilled work requiring formal training/education) or in sports (a sportsman/sportwoman doing sports) for payment. Sometimes it is also used to indicate a special level of quality of goods or tools, sometimes also called "commercial grade".



A professional is a worker required to possess a large body of knowledge derived from extensive academic study (usually tertiary), with the training almost always formalized. Professionals are at least to a degree self-regulating, in that they control the training and evaluation processes that admit new persons to the field, and in judging whether the work done by their members is up to standard. This differs from other kinds of work where regulation (if considered necessary) is imposed by the state, or where official quality standards are often lacking. Professions have some historical links to guilds in these regards.
Professionals usually have autonomy in the workplace—they are expected to utilize their independent judgement and professional ethics in carrying out their responsibilities. This holds true even if they are employees instead of working on their own. Typically a professional provides a service (in exchange for payment or salary), in accordance with established protocols for licensing, ethics, procedures, standards of service and training / certification.
The above definitions were echoed by economist and sociologist Max Weber, who noted that professions are defined by the power to exclude and control admission to the profession, as well as by the development of a particular vocabulary specific to the occupation, and at least somewhat incomprehensible to outsiders.
Therefore it would be appropriate to state that a 'true' professional must be proficient in all criteria for the field of work they are practising professionally in. Criteria include following:
  1. The highest academic qualifications - i.e., university college/institute
  2. Expert and specialised knowledge in field which one is practising professionally
  3. Excellent manual/practical & literary skills in relation to profession
  4. High quality work in (examples): creations, products, services, presentations, consultancy, primary/other research, administrative, marketing or other work endeavours
  5. A high standard of professional ethics, behaviour and work activities while carrying out one's profession (as an employee, self-employed person, career, enterprise, business, company, or partnership/associate/colleague, etc.)
  • Also taking into consideration natural & harnessed talents integrated & used with qualifications & when doing work in professional capacity. These talents~skills are just as important in any forms of work be it paid, unpaid, volunteer, domestic jobs or any other work.'''


In narrow usage, not all expertise is considered a profession. Although sometimes referred to as professions, such occupations as skilled construction work are more generally thought of as trades or crafts. The completion of an apprenticeship is generally associated with skilled labor or trades such as carpenter, electrician, plumber, bricklayer and other similar occupations. A related (though not always valid) distinction would be that a professional does mainly mental or administrative work, as opposed to engaging in physical work. Many companies include the word professional in their company name to signify the quality of their workmanship or service (e.g., Professional Plastics, Inc. "The Plastics Professionals").


In sports, a professional is someone who participates for money. The opposite is amateur, meaning a person that does not play for money, but in an academic (e.g. college football) or other private setting. The term "professional" is commonly used incorrectly, as the distinction simply refers to how the athlete is funded, and not necessarily to what competitions he engages in or what results he achieves.
Sometimes the professional status of an activity is controversial, for example there is debate as to whether or not professionals should be allowed to compete in the Olympic Games. The motivation for money (either in rewards, salaries or advertising revenue) is sometimes seen as a corrupting influence, tainting a sport.
It has been suggested that the crude, all or nothing categories, of professional or amateur should be reconsidered. A historical shift is occurring with the rise of Pro-Ams, a new category of people that are pursuing amateur activities to professional standards.


"Professional-grade" equipment is built to higher standards than "consumer grade" equipment. Copyright laws that require copy protection in consumer equipment sometimes contain exemptions for professional grade audio (audio tape, CD) and video (VHS, DVD players) equipment (see Digital Millennium Copyright Act). This equipment is usually more expensive and sometimes unavailable to the general public. The term may however also be used as a simple marketing ploy, as it is normally not protected or legally defined.


professional in Czech: Profesionál
professional in Danish: Professionel
professional in German: Profi
professional in Indonesian: Profesional
professional in Dutch: Beroepssporter
professional in Japanese: プロフェッショナル
professional in Swedish: Professionalism
professional in Simple English: Professional
professional in Slovak: Profesionál
professional in Chinese: 专家

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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