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

Greenhouse is absolutely right, on procedural grounds: Decertification is voted on by the membership itself, so if ICE wants to keep its union, the current rules are on its side. Kim Kelly, The New Republic, "Abolish ICE’s Union," 2 Sep. 2019 The original verdict along with the 30-year sentence were overturned last year on procedural grounds and an appeals court ordered a second trial. Elisabeth Malkin, New York Times, "Salvadoran Woman Charged With Homicide After Stillbirth Is Cleared," 19 Aug. 2019 The AfCFTA came into force in May after clearing a key procedural hurdle and being ratified by the parliaments of 24 countries. Aisha Salaudeen, CNN, "Nigeria will join Africa's vast free trade area," 3 July 2019 The House cleared a procedural hurdle toward passage in a vote Tuesday evening. Bryce Klehm, CBS News, "TSA chief says hundreds of workers have been deployed to border," 25 June 2019 Lawmakers said their public feuds often mask deeper, across-the-aisle relationships, particularly in the Senate where most bills need bipartisan support to clear procedural hurdles. Natalie Andrews, WSJ, "Congressional Leaders Quietly Seek to Bridge Partisan Divide Over Funding," 16 June 2019 The support of the Republican House minority may be necessary to pass a procedural hurdle that requires a three-quarters majority of the House’s 40 members. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska Senate plans Monday votes for state budget and dividend legislation," 7 June 2019 East Cleveland appealed that decision on procedural grounds, and the 8th District Court of Appeals overturned the award and sent it back to Common Pleas Court for a new trial. Cory Shaffer,, "Jury awards $50 million to man beaten, locked in East Cleveland police department storage room," 9 Aug. 2019 The first two seasons mostly stuck with the procedural comedy/drama format, with a broader narrative arc focusing on Ravi's hunt for the cure and the Max Rager connection to the zombie outbreak. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: iZombie sets up strong fifth season, then whiffs the series finale," 5 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Worth pointing out, maybe, that Thompson worked through showbiz from every direction — procedurals and cable dramas, indie sensations and a Rocky reboot — while Hemsworth swam from Australia right into Star Trek, Thor, and the Huntsmans. Darren Franich,, "Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson reunite for eerily bland Men in Black: International: EW review," 12 June 2019 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

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

12 Sep 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 spread over or through

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