Definition of practical in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpraktɪk(ə)l/


1Of or concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory and ideas: there are two obvious practical applications of the research
More example sentences
  • Internships and co-op opportunities turn classroom theory into practical, hands-on experience.
  • The focus is on research and theory, rather than practical matters of assessment and intervention.
  • And the region's scientists and researchers have tended to concentrate on finding practical applications rather than unraveling basic principles.
empirical, hands-on, pragmatic, real, actual, active, applied, experiential, experimental, non-theoretical, in the field
informal how-to
technical heuristic
rare empiric
2(Of an idea, plan, or method) likely to succeed or be effective in real circumstances; feasible: neither of these strategies are practical for smaller businesses
More example sentences
  • In the health services of the Western world, a search is under way to find effective and practical methods for assessing the performance of doctors.
  • A number of alternative more practical methods have been suggested.
  • So, if we are to achieve the goal of reducing congestion we must complement the current plan with immediate and attractive alternatives that provide practical ways of travelling to and around the city.
feasible, practicable, realistic, viable, workable, possible, within the bounds/realms of possibility, reasonable, sensible, useful, helpful, constructive
informal doable
rare accomplishable
2.1Suitable for a particular purpose: a practical, stylish kitchen
More example sentences
  • The scientists expect to make these cells practical to use within just 2 years.
  • However, recent changes in back-end switch design now make it practical and feasible.
  • The plan emphasizes treatment and prevention strategies that are effective and practical for use in individual areas.
functional, serviceable, sensible, useful, utilitarian, utility, everyday, workaday, ordinary;
suitable, appropriate
2.2(Of a person) sensible and realistic in their approach to a situation or problem: I’m merely being practical—we must find a ground-floor flat
More example sentences
  • She said Caroline was a sensible and practical teenager, and prepared well for her trip.
  • Consequently, the practical politicians and their realistic programs can create nothing but a disaster.
  • I feel that I am also a very rational, reasonable and practical person.
realistic, sensible, down-to-earth, pragmatic, businesslike, matter-of-fact, reasonable, rational, commonsensical, hard-headed, no-nonsense, with one's/both feet on the ground
informal hard-nosed
2.3(Of a person) skilled at manual tasks: Steve’ll fix it—he’s quite practical
More example sentences
  • He was a very practical man and was skilled in the wireless detection system which we now call radar.
3So nearly the case that it can be regarded as so; virtual: for all practical purposes, she’s his girlfriend
More example sentences
  • There is practical certainty as to payment, and that contingency does not affect the existence of the liability.
  • Should the law extend the definition beyond purpose to cover the awareness of the practical certainty that the crew would be killed?
virtual, effective, in effect


An examination or lesson in which theories and procedures learned are applied to the actual making or doing of something.
Example sentences
  • It means they are on their own on the final hurdle of a seemingly endless slog of course work, mock examinations, orals, practicals and revision which began in year nine.
  • Teachers and students have responded positively to a proposal to break up the Leaving Certificate exams into two sittings with some papers, practicals or project work taken earlier in the year.
  • It involves 75 per cent practicals and 25 per cent theory.


Late 16th century: from archaic practic 'practical' (from Old French practique, via late Latin from Greek praktikos 'concerned with action', from prattein 'do, act') + -al.

Words that rhyme with practical

impractical, syntactical, tactical

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: prac|tical

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