adjective Also prag·mat·i·cal (for defs 1, 2, 5).

  1. of or relating to a practical point of view or practical considerations.
  2. Philosophy. of or relating to pragmatism(def 2).
  3. of or relating to pragmatics(def 1, 2).
  4. treating historical phenomena with special reference to their causes, antecedent conditions, and results.
  5. of or relating to the affairs of state or community.
  6. Archaic.
    1. busy; active.
    2. officious; meddlesome; interfering.
    3. dogmatic; opinionated.


  1. pragmatic sanction.
  2. Archaic. an officious or meddlesome person.


  1. advocating behaviour that is dictated more by practical consequences than by theory or dogma
  2. philosophy of or relating to pragmatism
  3. involving everyday or practical business
  4. of or concerned with the affairs of a state or community
  5. rare interfering or meddlesome; officious

adj.1610s, “meddlesome, impertinently busy,” short for earlier pragmatical, or else from Middle French pragmatique (15c.), from Latin pragmaticus “skilled in business or law,” from Greek pragmatikos “fit for business, active, business-like; systematic,” from pragma (genitive pragmatos) “a deed, act; that which has been done; a thing, matter, affair,” especially an important one; also a euphemism for something bad or disgraceful; in plural, “circumstances, affairs” (public or private), often in a bad sense, “trouble,” literally “a thing done,” from stem of prassein/prattein “to do, act, perform” (see practical). Meaning “matter-of-fact” is from 1853. In some later senses from German pragmatisch.

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