Definitions

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

  • adjective Dealing or concerned with facts or actual occurrences; practical.
  • adjective Philosophy Of or relating to pragmatism.
  • adjective Linguistics Of or relating to pragmatics.
  • adjective Relating to or being the study of cause and effect in historical or political events with emphasis on the practical lessons to be learned from them.
  • noun A pragmatic sanction.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A term used (by Kant) to denote rules of action (otherwise denominated ‘counsels of prudence’) which have to do with the attainment of happiness. As used by him, it is antithetic to the term ‘practical,’ which refers to principles of action (otherwise called ‘categorical imperatives’) which have to do with the attainment of virtue.
  • noun Having to do with pragmatism as a philosophy: as, the pragmatic movement; pragmatic thought. See pragmatism, 3.
  • Relating to civil affairs; relating or pertaining to the affairs of a community. See pragmatic sanction, below.
  • Same as pragmatical, in any sense.
  • In the Kantian philos, practical in a particular way—namely, having reference to happiness.—
  • noun A man of business; one who is versed or active in affairs.
  • noun A busybody; a meddlesome person.
  • noun A decree or ordinance issued by the head of a state.

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

  • noun One skilled in affairs.
  • noun A solemn public ordinance or decree.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to business or to affairs; of the nature of business; practical; material; businesslike in habit or manner.
  • adjective Busy; specifically, busy in an objectionable way; officious; fussy and positive; meddlesome.
  • adjective Philosophical; dealing with causes, reasons, and effects, rather than with details and circumstances; -- said of literature.
  • adjective a solemn ordinance or decree issued by the head or legislature of a state upon weighty matters; -- a term derived from the Byzantine empire. In European history, two decrees under this name are particularly celebrated. One of these, issued by Charles VII. of France, A. D. 1438, was the foundation of the liberties of the Gallican church; the other, issued by Charles VI. of Germany, A. D. 1724, settled his hereditary dominions on his eldest daughter, the Archduchess Maria Theresa.

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

  • adjective Practical, concerned with making decisions and actions that are useful in practice, not just theory

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

  • adjective concerned with practical matters
  • adjective guided by practical experience and observation rather than theory
  • noun an imperial decree that becomes part of the fundamental law of the land
  • adjective of or concerning the theory of pragmatism

Etymologies

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

[Latin prāgmaticus, skilled in business, from Greek prāgmatikos, from prāgma, prāgmat-, deed, from prāssein, prāg-, to do.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French pragmatique, from Late Latin pragmaticus ("relating to civil affair; in Latin, as a noun, a person versed in the law who furnished arguments and points to advocates and orators, a kind of attorney"), from Ancient Greek πραγματικός (pragmatikós, "active, versed in affairs"), from πρᾶγμα (pragma, "a thing done, a fact"), in plural πράγματα (prágmata, "affairs, state affairs, public business, etc."), from πράσσειν (prassein, "to do") (whence English practical).

Examples

  • On a good day, I consider myself a centrist (though I prefer the term pragmatic liberal), so I've been more willing than most to hear arguments about making compromises, reaching across the aisle, and taking a short term loss for a long term gain.

    Greg Saunders: Throwing the Bums Out

  • Russian envoy Grigory Berdennikov said world powers expect Iran to show what he called a "pragmatic attitude" and respond positively.

    World Powers Urge Iran to Return to Nuclear Talks

  • The second half is much more specific to the Evangelical community but does make some interesting points about what he calls the pragmatic philosophy of Youth Ministry.

    The impossibility of Excellence in Ministry these Days

  • The second half is much more specific to the Evangelical community but does make some interesting points about what he calls the pragmatic philosophy of Youth Ministry.

    Archive 2009-01-01

  • The semantic difficulty may be seen in the various ways historians have used the word pragmatic.

    Interpretations of American History

  • The semantic difficulty may be seen in the various ways historians have used the word pragmatic.

    Interpretations of American History

  • Finel rejects this approach in favor of what he calls a pragmatic one.

    Libertarian Blog Place

  • But they take what they describe as a pragmatic approach, saying it's a better alternative to extending a U.N. mandate, due to expire Dec. 31, that would allow American troops far more freedom to operate.

    Top Stories - Google News

  • But they take what they describe as a pragmatic approach, saying it's a better alternative to extending a U.N. mandate, due to expire Dec. 31, that would allow American troops far more freedom to operate.

    NBCSports.com: Sports

  • But they take what they describe as a pragmatic approach, saying it's a better alternative to extending a U.N. mandate, due to expire Dec. 31, that would allow American troops far more freedom to operate.

    msnbc.com: Top msnbc.com headlines

Comments

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  • pragmatic - the opposite of hope. Ze Frank

    January 23, 2007

  • Law & Order - Season 7, Episode 16 - "Turnaround"

    September 11, 2007

  • adjective: guided by practical experience and observation rather than theory

    Rather than make a philosophical appeal to the Congressmen, the Speaker decided to take a far more pragmatic approach, making small side-deals that would add votes to his bill.

    October 19, 2016