Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1500-1600
Language: Late Latin
Origin: practicus, from Greek praktikos, from prassein 'to do'

practical

1 adjective
     
prac‧ti‧cal1 S3 W2
1

real

relating to real situations and events rather than ideas, emotions etc [↪ theoretical]:
Candidates should have training and practical experience in basic electronics.
the practical problems of old age
They provide financial and practical help for disabled students.
a combination of theoretical and practical training
They haven't thought about the practical consequences of the new regulations.
In practical terms, this means spending more time with each student.
2

effective

practical plans, methods etc are likely to succeed or be effective in a situation [≠ impractical]:
It doesn't sound like a very practical solution.
a practical way of achieving greater efficiency
Unfortunately, there's no practical alternative to driving.
a practical guide to buying and selling a house
3

clear thinking

a practical person is good at dealing with problems and making decisions based on what is possible and what will really work [≠ impractical]:
She's a very practical person.
I was very shocked, but tried to be practical and think what to do.
4

suitable

useful or suitable for a particular purpose or situation [≠ impractical ]:
Skirts aren't very practical in my kind of work.
5

using your hands

good at repairing or making things:
I'm not very practical - I can't even change a light bulb.
6

for/to all practical purposes

used to say what the real effect of a situation is:
The time you spend on it doesn't, for all practical purposes, affect the final result.
7

practical certainty/disaster/sell-out etc

something that is almost certain, almost a disaster etc:
Sampras looks a practical certainty to win Wimbledon this year.

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary