prac·​tice | \ ˈprak-təs How to pronounce practice (audio) \
variants: or less commonly practise
practiced also practised; practicing also practising

Definition of practice

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : carry out, apply practice what you preach
b : to do or perform often, customarily, or habitually practice politeness
c : to be professionally engaged in practice medicine
2a : to perform or work at repeatedly so as to become proficient practice the act
b : to train by repeated exercises practice pupils in penmanship
3 obsolete : plot

intransitive verb

1 : to do repeated exercises for proficiency
2 : to pursue a profession actively
3 archaic : intrigue
4 : to do something customarily
5 : to take advantage of someone he practised on their credulity with huge successThe Times Literary Supplement (London)


variants: or less commonly practise

Definition of practice (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : actual performance or application ready to carry out in practice what they advocated in principle
b : a repeated or customary action had this irritating practice
c : the usual way of doing something local practices
d : the form, manner, and order of conducting legal suits and prosecutions
2a : systematic exercise for proficiency practice makes perfect
b : the condition of being proficient through systematic exercise get in practice
3a : the continuous exercise of a profession
b : a professional business especially : one constituting an incorporeal property

Other Words from practice


practicer noun

Synonyms for practice

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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habit, practice, usage, custom, wont mean a way of acting fixed through repetition. habit implies a doing unconsciously and often compulsively. had a habit of tapping his fingers practice suggests an act or method followed with regularity and usually through choice. our practice is to honor all major credit cards usage suggests a customary action so generally followed that it has become a social norm. western-style dress is now common usage in international business custom applies to a practice or usage so steadily associated with an individual or group as to have almost the force of unwritten law. the custom of wearing black at funerals wont usually applies to a habitual manner, method, or practice of an individual or group. as was her wont, she slept until noon

Examples of practice in a Sentence

Verb To be a good musician, you have to practice a lot. Have you been practicing your lines for the play? She had to practice flying in various weather conditions before she could get her pilot's license. Grandmother taught us to practice good manners. Practice what you preach—don't smoke if you tell your children not to smoke. Noun Being a good musician takes a lot of practice. I'm sure you'll learn your lines for the play with enough practice. They'll get better with practice. I'm late for trumpet practice. The marching band has practice every Wednesday afternoon. The team's practices usually last two hours. She has made a practice of volunteering at a homeless shelter one weekend a month. The country's poor sanitation practices have led to widespread disease. Burial practices vary around the world. It is common practice among my friends to not use capital letters in e-mail. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Flagstaff also offers a multitude of trails to practice on, Pianter said. Alex Suarez, The Arizona Republic, 23 Sep. 2022 With both running backs still on the mend — Dobbins has yet to make his season debut, and Edwards hasn’t been cleared to practice — the Ravens have looked for answers elsewhere at the position. Jonas Shaffer, Baltimore Sun, 22 Sep. 2022 Patriots quarterback Mac Jones returned to practice a day after sitting out with an illness, putting him on track to start New England’s game with Pittsburgh on Sunday. Sarah Ravani, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Sep. 2022 Surgery is a discipline that demands excellence in all its stages, from training to practice. Richard Bosshardt, WSJ, 14 Sep. 2022 The Chicago Bears returned to practice Wednesday at Halas Hall, eager to build on their 19-10 season-opening upset of the San Francisco 49ers. Dan Wiederer, Chicago Tribune, 14 Sep. 2022 The confidence that the guys have coming out to practice is different. Mark Inabinett |, al, 27 Aug. 2022 Rookie David Bell started camp on the physically unable to perform list with a foot injury and second-year pro Anthony Schwartz sustained a knee strain on the second day of camp, although both returned to practice late last week. Chris Easterling, USA TODAY, 10 Aug. 2022 In other injury news, Taylor said receiver Tee Higgins could return to practice next week. Mitch Stacy, ajc, 10 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Roquan Smith missed his second consecutive practice Thursday with a hip issue, an injury worth monitoring as Sunday approaches. Dan Wiederer, Chicago Tribune, 23 Sep. 2022 What makes City Fresh unique is not only its local ownership and staff, but its practice of sourcing, preparing, and shipping the majority of its food exclusively in Boston. Julian E.j. Sorapuru,, 23 Sep. 2022 Still, de Amaral’s international travels between the 1950s and 1970s greatly informed her artistic practice. Salomé Gómez-upegui, Vogue, 22 Sep. 2022 This offseason, the team overhauled its training camp practice routine and hired a new head athletic trainer in an effort to reduce injuries. Mike Preston, Baltimore Sun, 22 Sep. 2022 According to NFL Network's Mike Garofolo, the Bucs are signing former Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley to their practice squad — thanks in part to Brady's request that the team add a veteran pass-catcher to the roster. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, 21 Sep. 2022 Salkovskis, however, noticed something interesting in his practice: some people with contamination fears temporarily saw their symptoms improve early in the pandemic, because lots of people were taking disease precautions. Time, 20 Sep. 2022 His installation practice goes back to 2003 and has existed comfortably alongside his cinematic filmmaking. Caitlin Quinlan, Variety, 20 Sep. 2022 A few months after the stroke, Keyser called up Lam to hit in her first practice at Fountain Valley when blood started gushing out of her nose, her dad remembered, coating her sweater. Luca Evans, Los Angeles Times, 19 Sep. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of practice


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


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

History and Etymology for practice


Middle English practisen, from Middle French practiser, from Medieval Latin practizare, alteration of practicare, from practica practice, noun, from Late Latin practice, from Greek praktikē, from feminine of praktikos

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Time Traveler for practice

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The first known use of practice was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near practice



practice curve

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Last Updated

25 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Practice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for practice


prac·​tice | \ ˈprak-təs How to pronounce practice (audio) \
practiced; practicing

Kids Definition of practice

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to do or work at often so as to learn well or improve Practice the piano daily.
2 : to do or perform often or usually Try to practice good manners.
3 : to engage in or work at as a profession practice medicine



Kids Definition of practice (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of doing something again and again in order to learn or improve Ballet takes a lot of practice.
2 : a regular event at which something is done again and again to increase skill soccer practice
3 : actual performance : use I put his advice into practice.
4 : a usual way of doing something It's our practice to rise early.
5 : continuous work in a profession the practice of law


variants: or practise \ ˈprak-​təs How to pronounce practice (audio) \
practiced or practised; practicing or practising

Medical Definition of practice

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to be professionally engaged in practice medicine

intransitive verb

: to pursue a profession actively


variants: also practise

Medical Definition of practice (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the continuous exercise of a profession
2 : a professional business especially : one constituting an incorporeal property the doctor sold his practice and retired



Legal Definition of practice

1 : the form and manner of conducting judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings
2a : the continuous exercise of a profession also : the performance of services that are considered to require an appropriate license engaged in the unauthorized practice of law
b : a professional business

More from Merriam-Webster on practice

Nglish: Translation of practice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of practice for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about practice


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