The Abbreviation for Professor: What Is It and How Is It Used?

If you’re looking to correctly define and abbreviate the word professor, you’ve come to the right place! In our short and sweet guide, we’ll review the correct abbreviation for this word in American English, its definitions, its history, synonyms, and much more.

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Let’s start with the main question—what’s the abbreviation for professor?

There is only one abbreviation for the word professor:

●      prof.

This abbreviation can also be written with any variation of capitalization: Prof. or prof. However, when you use the abbreviation as a title before a name, you should capitalize Prof.

This abbreviation should not be confused with pro, which is the abbreviation for professional.

What Does Professor Mean?

 Professor refers to a teacher of high rank. defines professor as:


a teacher of the highest academic rank in a college or university, who has been awarded the title Professor in a particular branch of learning; a full professor:

a professor of Spanish literature.

any teacher who has the rank of professor, associate professor, or assistant professor.

a teacher.

an instructor in some art or skilled sport:

a professor of singing; a professor of boxing.

a person who professes his or her sentiments, beliefs, etc.

Synonyms for Professor

According to, professor has the following synonyms:

The History Of The Word

The word professor entered the English language in the late 14th century, according to The Online Etymology Dictionary. The word evolved from the Old French professeur, meaning “one who teaches a branch of knowledge.” It is also derived from the Latin word professor, or a “person who professes to be an expert in some art or science; as well as a teacher of the highest rank.” 

 The earliest record of it being used as a prefixed title comes from 1706, while the abbreviation prof. dates from 1838.

When to Use the Abbreviation

The abbreviation is most commonly used on business cards, resumes, and syllabi to describe a job title, especially a formal academic title.

Prof. Matthew has a doctoral degree in computer science.

It is also used in a casual manner, for notetaking, webpages, and headlines, where the author wants to conserve space. Apart from these situations, the abbreviation is not commonly used in formal writing. 

Examples of the Word and Abbreviation in Context

“Recently, we received a note from alum Ivan Gargurevich MS ’80, PhD ’97 not about his own accomplishments but those of chemical and biomolecular engineering professor emeritus Eldon Knuth.”

—Samueli School of Engineering, UCLA

“Assistant Professor Jon Marshall at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism has already published a book titled ‘Watergate’s Legacy and the Press,’ and he has another book in the works about the press and the president in times of crisis.”


“Anthropology Prof., Students Honored for Expertise, Integrity in Work with Local Remains | A St. Lawrence University anthropology professor and more than 20 of her students were recognized by local elected officials on Wednesday, Jan. 15, for their enthusiasm to help a community when it needed them most.”

—St. Lawrence University

“It is an honor to join Varian to spearhead its ongoing efforts to provide the best treatment to patients anywhere in the world,” said Prof. Dr. Sharma.

—Yahoo!  Finance