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Never before had statesmen and philosophers laid so much stress on the importance of any and all men. Never before had they professed to take so little account of.

A Longman dictionary says that 'profess' means you say something when it is not true. But it does not make sense to me.

This comes from the book 'The Modern Views of Man' written by J.W. Krutch.

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  • Could you add a link to the definition you are referring to?
    – user3169
    Feb 23, 2016 at 21:26
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    That definition (saying something that's not true) is an unusual one. The most common meaning for profess is to state a position (usually publicly).
    – Era
    Feb 23, 2016 at 21:37
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    @Era - I thought the same thing. One synonym for profess in this context might be claim.
    – J.R.
    Feb 23, 2016 at 21:40

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To profess is to declare something without ambiguity

He professed his love for her.
They professed their allegiance to the king.

Not sure why OP's definition has to do with lying.

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  • Google definition says "claim openly but often falsely that one has (a quality or feeling)" - which caught me by surprise.
    – LawrenceC
    Feb 23, 2016 at 22:06

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