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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for practice


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 The doctor’s office, where I was forced to recognize my own pushiness, is also a great place to practice self-advocacy. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, 7 June 2022 Here’s a great way to practice shooting with a friend: the 60-second drill. Fred Bowen, Washington Post, 26 May 2022 Govil sees this as a great way to practice problem-solving and spark the imagination. Rhett Power, Forbes, 15 May 2022 The safest way to practice high-intensity exercise is to monitor your heart rate. Dana Santas, CNN, 19 Apr. 2022 And testers did note that the zipper lock has a learning curve, so buyers should make time to practice before using it on a trip. Chris Abell, Travel + Leisure, 15 Apr. 2022 The short premieres on Friday, April 22 and follows Lisa Simpson on her search for a quiet place to practice saxophone when she is suddenly discovered by Billie and Finneas. Thania Garcia, Variety, 14 Apr. 2022 West Baltimore native and professional racer Darius Glover, who received his first bike from his older brother and father, said not having a place to practice while growing up put him at a disadvantage. Baltimore Sun, 25 Mar. 2022 Having a flat, looped track would allow children pursuing track and field to have a place to practice when school is out, Ashworth said. Stacy Ryburn, Arkansas Online, 3 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There were times this season when Palm Beach Central had numerous scouts at practice, creating the type of pressure that could make hands shake, knees buckle, or minds wander. Franco Panizo, Sun Sentinel, 18 June 2022 Also, a physician assistant at the practice, William Soyke, then 69, pleaded guilty in 2019 to conspiracy to distribute and dispense oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone and alprazolam, and was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison. Lee O. Sanderlin, Baltimore Sun, 16 June 2022 Smith sustained an unspecified knee injury at practice on June 6. Mark Inabinett |, al, 14 June 2022 Castle has relished the competition at practice and will play a bit of point guard, but mostly shooting guard or small forward, for the team. Shreyas Laddha, Hartford Courant, 3 June 2022 Antonina Vyshyvanova of Ukraine splashed down at the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series practice. Globe Staff,, 3 June 2022 August 2021: Simone Biles visits Jonathan Owens at practice after the Olympics Shortly after reuniting with her mom and dad in Texas, Biles — who won silver and bronze at the Tokyo Summer Games — spent some quality time with the NFL player. Skyler Caruso,, 1 June 2022 At practice on Wednesday, Clowney got re-acquainted with his teammates and introduced himself to the rookies. cleveland, 29 May 2022 So just going out there and competing every day at practice. Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 26 May 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

Learn More About practice

Time Traveler for practice

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near practice



practice curve

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for practice

Last Updated

21 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Practice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!