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

  • adj. Dealing or concerned with facts or actual occurrences; practical.
  • adj. Philosophy Of or relating to pragmatism.
  • adj. 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.
  • adj. Archaic Active; busy.
  • adj. Archaic Active in an officious or meddlesome way.
  • adj. Archaic Dogmatic; dictatorial.
  • n. A pragmatic sanction.
  • n. Archaic A meddler; a busybody.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to business or to affairs; of the nature of business; practical; material; businesslike in habit or manner.
  • adj. Busy; specifically, busy in an objectionable way; officious; fussy and positive; meddlesome.
  • adj. Philosophical; dealing with causes, reasons, and effects, rather than with details and circumstances; -- said of literature.
  • n. One skilled in affairs.
  • n. A solemn public ordinance or decree.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.—
  • n. A man of business; one who is versed or active in affairs.
  • n. A busybody; a meddlesome person.
  • n. A decree or ordinance issued by the head of a state.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Having to do with pragmatism as a philosophy: as, the pragmatic movement; pragmatic thought. See pragmatism, 3.

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

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


Latin prāgmaticus, skilled in business, from Greek prāgmatikos, from prāgma, prāgmat-, deed, from prāssein, prāg-, to do.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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). (Wiktionary)


  • 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.

    Archive 2009-01-01

  • 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.

    Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion

  • To quote your article, Dr. Samet said; "The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cellphones and cancer." (my emphasis) and further on in the article you quote Dr. Christopher Wild as saying; "...that in view of the potential implications for public health, there should be more research on long-term, heavy use of mobile phones." (my emphasis) The rest of his quote should be taken as mere pragmatism (he actually uses the word 'pragmatic').

    The Guardian World News

  • My only qualm, which might not be pragmatic, is that perhaps the party pitching the segment should be absolutely required to disclose relationships and funding as a pre-requisite for the interview.

    Advertorial, Leslie Sbrocco, 7-11, chocolate milk, freer trade - sipped and spit | Dr Vino's wine blog

  • First, in pragmatic terms it suggests a mostly balanced and not unreasonable view of 4A protections (at least in comparison to some of the competing theories).

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Final Version of “Applying the Fourth Amendment to the Internet: A General Approach”


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  • 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

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

    September 11, 2007

  • pragmatic - the opposite of hope. Ze Frank

    January 23, 2007