Meaning of “practice” in the English Dictionary

"practice" in British English

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uk /ˈpræk.tɪs/ us /ˈpræk.tɪs/

practice noun (ACTION)

B2 [ U ] action rather than thought or ideas:

How do you intend to put these proposals into practice, Mohamed?
in practice

B2 used to describe what really happens as opposed to what you think will happen in a particular situation:

It seemed like a good idea before we started, but in practice it was a disaster.
Officially, Robert's in charge, but in practice Hannah runs the office.
I can't see how your plan is going to work in practice.

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practice noun (REGULAR ACTIVITY)

C2 [ C or U ] something that is usually or regularly done, often as a habit, tradition, or custom:

What can European companies learn from Japanese business practices?
It's common practice in the States to tip the hairdresser.
This is a cruel practice that should be banned immediately.
What is standard practice (= what is usually done) in a situation like this?
Newspaper editors have agreed to a new code of practice on the invasion of privacy.
make a practice of sth US or UK old-fashioned

to do something regularly:

I'll do your washing for you this time, but I'm not going to make a practice of it.

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practice noun (TRAINING)

A2 [ C or U ] the act of doing something regularly or repeatedly to improve your skill at doing it:

I need to get some more practice before I take my driving test.
Are you coming to choir practice this evening?
She's never at home because she spends all her free time at hockey practices.
You'll gradually get better at it - it's just a question of practice.
I'm a little out of practice (= I haven't had any recent experience) but I'd love to play.
Do you mind if I have a few practice shots before we start the game?

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practice noun (WORK)

[ C ] a job or business that involves a lot of skill or training:

Our practice is responsible for about 5,000 patients.
She's decided to leave the Health Service and join a private practice.


/ˈpræk.tɪs/ /ˈpræk.tɪs/

US spelling of practise

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

"practice" in American English

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us /ˈpræk·tɪs/

practice noun (ACTION)

[ U, not gradable ] action rather than thought or ideas:

It seemed like a good idea, but in practice it was a disaster.
How soon will the new procedures be put into practice?

practice noun (REGULAR ACTIVITY)

[ C/U ] something that is usually or regularly done, often as a habit, tradition, or custom:

[ U ] It was his usual practice to buy a newspaper every morning on the way to the office.


esp. Cdn Br practise us /ˈpræk·tɪs/

practice verb (TRAIN)

[ I/T ] to do or play something regularly or repeatedly in order to become skilled at it:

[ T ] I’m good at tennis but I need to practice my serve.

practice verb (WORK)

[ I/T ] to do work of a particular type for which a lot of training is necessary:

[ T ] The firm has been practicing law for over a hundred years.

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

"practice" in Business English

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uk /ˈpræktɪs/ us

[ U ] action as opposed to thoughts, ideas, or plans:

in practice We'll need a year at least to see whether this new approach will work in practice.
put sth into practice We are beginning to put the new processes and systems into practice.

[ U ] LAW the work done by people such as lawyers, doctors, etc. which involves long periods of training and high levels of skill:

He trained in private practice in Glasgow.
go into/set up in practice After graduation, he pursued a doctorate in pharmacology instead of going into practice.

[ C ] LAW the business or place of work of people such as lawyers, doctors, etc.:

run/start a practice He runs a legal practice that rivals some of the biggest commercial law firms in the country.
a dental/legal/medical practice
a group/private practice
join/leave a practice

[ C or U ] the way of doing things in a particular business, industry, etc.:

common/standard/usual practice It is common practice in the building industry to cost all items gross.
bad/best/good practice The insurance firm has issued a warning report to its members, highlighting breaches of best practice.
practice of doing sth The company was fined over its continued practice of employing illegal immigrants.
adopt/follow/introduce a practice More and more companies worldwide have begun to adopt the practice of preparing sustainability reports.
accounting/business/management practices Shares in the company fell after it revealed that regulators were reviewing its accounting practices.

practiceverb [ I or T ]

uk /ˈpræktɪs/ us US

→  practise

(Definition of “practice” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)