Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of, relating to, governed by, or acquired through practice or action, rather than theory or speculation.
  • adjective Manifested in or involving practice.
  • adjective Capable of or suitable to being used or put into effect; useful.
  • adjective Concerned with the production or operation of something useful.
  • adjective Having or showing good judgment; sensible.
  • adjective Being actually so in almost every respect; virtual.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Relating or pertaining to action, practice, or use: opposed to theoretical, speculative, or ideal.
  • Educated by practice or experience: as, a practical gardener.
  • Derived from experience: as, practical skill; practical knowledge.
  • Used, or such as may advantageously be used, in practice; capable of being used or turned to account; contributing to one's material advantage; possessing utility.
  • Exemplified in practice.
  • Spent in practice; devoted to action or material pursuits.
  • In effect and result; to all intents and purposes; equivalent to (something) in force or influence; virtual: as, a victory may be a practical defeat.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to practice or action.
  • adjective Capable of being turned to use or account; useful, in distinction from ideal or theoretical.
  • adjective Evincing practice or skill; capable of applying knowledge to some useful end
  • adjective Derived from practice.
  • adjective a joke put in practice; a joke the fun of which consists in something done, in distinction from something said; esp., a trick played upon a person.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun UK that part of an exam or series of exams in which the candidate has to demonstrate their practical ability
  • adjective Based on practice or action rather than theory or hypothesis
  • adjective Being likely to be effective and applicable to a real situation; able to be put to use
  • adjective Of a person, having skills or knowledge that are practical

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective having or put to a practical purpose or use
  • adjective guided by practical experience and observation rather than theory
  • adjective concerned with actual use or practice
  • adjective being actually such in almost every respect

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English practicale, from Medieval Latin prācticālis, from prāctica, practice; see practicable.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From practic +‎ -al

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Examples

  • In arranging the parts of speech, I conceive it to be the legitimate object of the practical grammarian, to consult _practical convenience_.

    English Grammar in Familiar Lectures

  • That certain human souls, living on this practical Earth, should think to save themselves and a ruined world by noisy theoretic demonstrations and laudations of _the_ Church, instead of some unnoisy, unconscious, but _practical, _ total, heart-and-soul demonstration of _a_ Church: this, in the circle of revolving ages, this also was a thing we were to see.

    Past and Present

  • That certain human souls, living on this practical Earth, should think to save themselves and a ruined world by noisy theoretic demonstrations and laudations of _the_ Church, instead of some unnoisy, unconscious, but _practical_, total, heart-and-soul demonstration of a Church: this, in the circle of revolving ages, this also was a thing we were to see.

    Past and Present Thomas Carlyle's Collected Works, Vol. XIII.

  • Bismarck opened debate on the subject on 17 November 1881 in the Imperial Message to the Reichstag, using the term practical Christianity43 to describe his program.

    On being called a bigot and/or racist

  • MARTIN: I think - now, I think the word - the term practical is probably better than logical.

    Rocky Mountain Activist Carole King

  • There has recently sprung up a class of educational philosophers who would restrict the term practical education to those forms of knowledge or formulas of information which can be converted into cash equivalent on demand.

    From Slave to College President Being the Life Story of Booker T. Washington

  • But while the student of Nature distinctly refuses to have his labours judged by their practical issues, unless the term practical be made to include mental as well as material good, he knows full well that the greatest practical triumphs have been episodes in the search after pure natural truth.

    Fragments of science, V. 1-2

  • Financial support Cheng says other SCO members expect stronger economic and financial support from China, so President Hu will be discussing what else can be done within the SCO framework to promote what he described as practical economic cooperation.

    Analysts: Shanghai Cooperation Organization Flourishing, Thanks to Help from China

  • Not forgotten among the practical is the cerebral at the conference, as in the case of “Negotiating a Green Mindset,” a workshop that will offer tools to the faithful few seeking to spread the word of sustainability.

    NESEA to Host BuildingEnergy09 in Boston

  • Financial support Cheng says other SCO members expect stronger economic and financial support from China, so President Hu will be discussing what else can be done within the SCO framework to promote what he described as practical economic cooperation.

    Analysts: Shanghai Cooperation Organization Flourishing, Thanks to Help from China

Comments

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  • "This is Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s practical design of place of mass execution by firing squad that can also serve temporarily as storage for inflatable people."

    - Henryk Fantazos, Instead of Architecture, Against Modern Art, 1 April 2011.

    April 22, 2011