pro·​ce·​dur·​al | \ prə-ˈsē-jə-rəl How to pronounce procedural (audio) , -ˈsēj-rəl\

Definition of procedural

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to procedure especially : of or relating to the procedure used by courts or other bodies administering substantive law



Definition of procedural (Entry 2 of 2)

: a realist crime novel, film, or television drama with a specific focus a courtroom procedural especially : police procedural

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Other Words from procedural


procedurally adverb

Examples of procedural in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

This gritty, patiently absorbing seven-part procedural quietly appeared last month and garnered reviews primarily in the Indian press. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "Netflix's Delhi Crime Is Your Next International Crime Binge," 26 Apr. 2019 Prosecutors said a court would decide at a procedural hearing Monday whether to keep Puigdemont in custody pending a Spanish extradition request. Washington Post,, "Catalan separatist leader arrested in Germany," 25 Mar. 2018 Nevertheless, the American delegation sought to wear down the other participants through procedural maneuvers in a series of meetings that stretched on for two days, an unexpectedly long period. Andrew Jacobs, New York Times, "U.S. Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution Stuns World Health Officials," 8 July 2018 Senator Mike Lee from Utah raised the bar on outrageously out-of-touch congressional presentations from the GOP today during the session held before the Senate’s procedural vote on the Green New Deal. Bridget Read, Vogue, "GOP Senator Mike Lee Says Very Real, Terrifying Climate-Change Problem Should Be Solved by . . . Babies," 26 Mar. 2019 This twist on the usual formula makes The Sinner much more meditative than the standard procedural — which is perhaps the reason that season one’s slow burn went largely overlooked — and makes the show worth getting on board with now. Karen Han, Vox, "The Sinner is the rare murder mystery that doesn’t care whodunnit. Instead, it asks, “Why?”," 31 July 2018 In it, Wayans, who plays Murtaugh on the Fox procedural, can be seen getting struck in the back of his head by shrapnel. Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Lethal Weapon': Damon Wayans Shares Graphic Video Detailing Issues With Ousted Star Clayne Crawford," 14 May 2018 The Looming Tower is a kind of reverse-procedural, meticulously documenting each misstep that enabled the 9/11 terror attacks in a series of foreign countries and bleak American boardrooms. Scott Meslow, GQ, "The Looming Tower Review: A Political Drama that Actually Has Something to Say," 1 Mar. 2018 Under court procedural rules, that opened him up to cross examination by lawyers for the government and the judge herself. Shelby Holliday, WSJ, "Judge Orders Roger Stone to Avoid Further Comment on Pending Trial," 21 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Although saying goodbye to the finest members of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit will be undoubtedly difficult, the criminal procedural is ensuring an action-packed, star-studded, can't-miss season 15. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "The Final Season of 'Criminal Minds' Will Be a 'Tearjerker' and We're Not Ready," 27 Apr. 2019 Lethal Weapon joins a retooled slate at Fox that focuses on broad comedy and procedurals. Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Lethal Weapon': Seann William Scott Replaces Clayne Crawford for Newly Ordered Season 3," 13 May 2018 Those circumstances led to a second career as a consultant on TV crime procedurals and the occasional, discrete freelance job helping the police with difficult cases. Erik Spanberg, The Christian Science Monitor, "'The Word Is Murder' is Anthony Horowitz at his ambitious best," 15 June 2018 Perrette, who has played beloved forensic specialist Abby Sciuto since the crime procedural was spun off from JAG, finished her run with last week's episode, which featured Abby leaving NCIS after the death of a colleague. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "Pauley Perrette says she's been kept 'silent' about leaving 'NCIS,' tweets vaguely of crime," 14 May 2018 This Irish procedural follows a lawyer (Amy Huberman) who discovers that her fiancé is cheating on her and decides to upend her whole life — which includes establishing a new, quirkier law practice. Margaret Lyons, New York Times, "How Much Watching Time Do You Have This Weekend?," 29 Mar. 2018 Thus, most campaigns and congressional offices these days are more tightly scripted than a prime-time crime procedural on CBS. Graham Vyse, The New Republic, "How the Washington Press Fell in Love With John McCain," 25 May 2018 Alan Cumming is the draw in this rote CBS procedural, which gives him a lot of hats to wear and a license to be eccentric. Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Instinct': TV Review," 16 Mar. 2018 All the elements are there, mostly because CBS knows how to do these efficient procedurals in its sleep. Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Instinct': TV Review," 16 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'procedural.' 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 procedural


1876, in the meaning defined above


1963, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for procedural

Last Updated

6 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for procedural

The first known use of procedural was in 1876

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More Definitions for procedural


pro·​ce·​dur·​al | \ prə-ˈsēj-(ə-)rəl How to pronounce procedural (audio) \

Medical Definition of procedural

: relating to or comprising memory or knowledge concerned with how to manipulate symbols, concepts, and rules to accomplish a task or solve a problem — compare declarative


pro·​ce·​dur·​al | \ prə-ˈsē-jə-rəl How to pronounce procedural (audio) \

Legal Definition of procedural

: of or relating to procedure sentence reversed as result of procedural error in sentencingNational Law Journal — compare substantive

Other Words from procedural

procedurally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on procedural

Spanish Central: Translation of procedural

Nglish: Translation of procedural for Spanish Speakers

Comments on procedural

What made you want to look up procedural? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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