prac·​ti·​cal | \ ˈprak-ti-kəl How to pronounce practical (audio) \

Definition of practical

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, or manifested in practice or action : not theoretical or ideal a practical question for all practical purposes
b : being such in practice or effect : virtual a practical failure
2 : actively engaged in some course of action or occupation a practical farmer
3 : capable of being put to use or account : useful he had a practical knowledge of French
4a : disposed to action as opposed to speculation or abstraction
b(1) : qualified by practice or practical training a good practical mechanic
(2) : designed to supplement theoretical training by experience
5 : concerned with voluntary action and ethical decisions practical reason



Definition of practical (Entry 2 of 2)

: an examination requiring demonstration of some practical skill a zoology practical

Other Words from practical


practicality \ ˌprak-​ti-​ˈka-​lə-​tē How to pronounce practical (audio) \ noun
practicalness \ ˈprak-​ti-​kəl-​nəs How to pronounce practical (audio) \ noun

Examples of practical in a Sentence

Adjective We can speculate about the future, but on a more practical level, we have to admit that we simply don't know what will happen. An engineer will address the design's practical problems. She has a lot of practical experience in dealing with these kinds of problems. practical solutions to complicated problems He thinks wind can be a practical source of renewable energy. The machine is too big to be practical for most private homes. The shoes are nice, but they're not very practical. The book is a practical guide to car care. He gave me some practical advice on finding a job. Noun We have our zoology practicals next week. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective This handsome double-wide sink is practical and will give your space instant hotel-bathroom vibes. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 3 May 2022 Second, a user would constantly need to be connected to Wi-Fi, which isn’t practical, Choi explains. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 May 2022 This modification is expected to be practical for almost any engine manufactured since 2010. Steven Savage, Forbes, 30 Apr. 2022 But the left is more practical now, for the most part, at least on domestic affairs. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 19 Apr. 2022 For an economy the size of Russia’s, moving the necessary sums to conduct the nation’s international commerce through crypto exchanges wouldn’t be practical. Paul Blustein, Fortune, 25 Mar. 2022 With the news that Southern California officials are imposing tough water-use restrictions on about 6 million people, many of us are looking for practical ways to conserve. Jessica Roy, Los Angeles Times, 26 Apr. 2022 Here are some practical ways to find balance as a working mom. Caroline Castrillon, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 There are two practical ways of ensuring that private companies will winterize their generating hardware. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 4 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For most, the practical trumped the philosophical on a question of public health. Susan Page, USA TODAY, 22 Aug. 2021 All three of these agencies have worked to give students the flexibility to work online and, as Friday, NACCAS, in coordination with the Department of Education, announced the lifting of the restriction to teach practicals hands-on. Christopher Roth, azcentral, 23 Mar. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'practical.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of practical


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1925, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for practical


Middle English, from Late Latin practicus, from Greek praktikos, from prassein to pass over, fare, do; akin to Greek peran to pass through — more at fare

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Time Traveler for practical

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The first known use of practical was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near practical



practical art

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Practical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for practical


prac·​ti·​cal | \ ˈprak-ti-kəl How to pronounce practical (audio) \

Kids Definition of practical

1 : of or relating to real action rather than ideas or thought practical matters
2 : capable of being put to use : reasonable to do or use practical advice Those shoes are nice, but these are more practical.
3 : tending to act according to reason and logic Beezus, always practical, changed her mind. "It wouldn't work."— Beverly Cleary, Ramona Quimby, Age 8 a practical person

More from Merriam-Webster on practical

Nglish: Translation of practical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of practical for Arabic Speakers


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