Meaning of “practical” in the English Dictionary

"practical" in British English

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uk /ˈpræk.tɪ.kəl/ us /ˈpræk.tɪ.kəl/

practical adjective (EXPERIENCE)

B2 relating to experience, real situations, or actions rather than ideas or imagination:

Qualifications are important but practical experience is always an plus.
The service offers young people practical advice on finding a job.
What's the use of theoretical knowledge that has no practical application?
for all practical purposes

in fact:

Dr Frampton is in charge, but for all practical purposes, her assistant runs the office.

More examples

  • It's all very well knowing things in theory but what you need to gain is practical experience.
  • So how does this theory translate into practical policy?
  • Greater emphasis is given to practical tests rather than written work.
  • We offer practical help for people with disabilities.
  • There are various practical problems that we need to overcome.

practicalnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈpræk.tɪ.kəl/ us /ˈpræk.tɪ.kəl/

a class or exam in a scientific or technical subject in which students do things rather than just write or talk about them:

We had to dissect a worm and a frog in our biology practical today.

(Definition of “practical” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"practical" in American English

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us /ˈpræk·tɪ·kəl/

practical adjective (ACTUAL/REAL)

relating to actual experience or to the use of knowledge in activities rather than to knowledge only or ideas:

I know you’ve been trained as a teacher, but do you have any practical teaching experience?

If you say that a person is practical, you mean the person behaves in ways that relate more to the realities of the world than to ideas or desires:

You’ve got to learn to be practical and save your money.

practical adjective (EFFECTIVE)

fitting the needs of a particular situation in a helpful way; helping to solve a problem or difficulty; effective or suitable:

We didn’t want to spend the night at a motel, but it just wasn’t practical to do the trip in one day.
In some cities, it isn’t practical to keep the subways operating all night because there aren’t enough passengers.

When used of objects such as clothes, practical can mean directed only to the goal of doing their intended work, and often plain in style or character:

I wear clothes that are practical rather than fashionable.

(Definition of “practical” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)