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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective This isn’t practical for many types of derivatives, Rodriguez Tous says, as clearinghouses can only handle contracts that are standardized. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "How many hedge funds are a margin call away from Archegos-style implosion?," 31 Mar. 2021 At this point, the holidays are so close that this quarantine and test strategy probably is not practical. Katia Hetter, CNN, "How to safely celebrate Passover and Easter this year: Dr Wen's advice," 26 Mar. 2021 As much as is practical, Jessica gets her produce from local growers. Bob Carlton |, al, "This destination Alabama cafe is worth the trip, by car or boat," 17 Mar. 2021 The second would be to electrify as many cars, space heaters, water heaters and cooktops as is practical, using renewable sources. Michael E. Webber, Scientific American, "Can Natural Gas Be Part of a Low-Carbon Future?," 15 Mar. 2021 At first, the reasons for buying a tiny treadmill were practical. Arielle Pardes, Wired, "My Treadmill Desk Made Working From Home a Cakewalk," 14 Mar. 2021 Some of the reasons are practical: narrative convenience and the difficulty of visually rendering her complex powers. New York Times, "What ‘WandaVision’ Gets Right (and Wrong) About Female Superheroes," 11 Mar. 2021 Companies like Amazon and Google have delivered incredible computing power levels to global communities of scientists that means enormous models can be built, tested, and adjusted across the globe in ways that were not practical before. Michael Gale, Forbes, "When Environmental, Societal, And Governance Needs Marry In The Right Way.," 10 Mar. 2021 Duff passionately petitioned for the rating to be lifted so that the plot could be practical, but the company refused to change its mind. Ineye Komonibo,, "There Are Episodes Of The Lizzie McGuire Reboot Out There — We Just Won’t Ever Get To See Them," 3 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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, "Valley hairdressers, cosmetologists take a hit as the coronavirus affects salons," 23 Mar. 2020

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.

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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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for practical

Last Updated

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Practical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for practical



English Language Learners Definition of practical

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: relating to what is real rather than to what is possible or imagined
: likely to succeed and reasonable to do or use
: appropriate or suited for actual use



English Language Learners Definition of practical (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly British : an examination in which students have to do or make something to show what they have learned


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 a practical person

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Comments on practical

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