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 The Model S is also practical, with a large rear cargo area and a frunk for extra space. Car and Driver, 24 June 2022 Convertible strollers are great for a growing family, but tend to cost more than other models and are not as practical for a set of twins. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, 23 June 2022 This opens the platform to a key-recovery attack that is practical under certain circumstances, namely once a user has logged into an account slightly more than 512 times. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 21 June 2022 The reason why Sony opted for this massive console design is actually more practical than simply to stun fans. Chris Smith, BGR, 20 June 2022 Early fatherhood, when portrayed in literature, is often similarly practical: serving to color the characters, plot, and themes, but rarely warranting a sustained look. Oliver Munday, The Atlantic, 17 June 2022 Still, for all their fanciness and gaudiness, the fences are also practical, requiring low maintenance compared to iron fences with peeling paint. New York Times, 10 June 2022 Unlike Johnson and Hodge, whose costumes were mostly practical, Brosnan had to adjust to playing a character whose look was largely created in post-production. Devan Coggan,, 8 June 2022 Some gun buyers have been misled into thinking that the AR-15 is somehow practical for self-defense. Michael Fanone, CNN, 5 June 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

29 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Practical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jun. 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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