Meaning of pragmatic in English:


Pronunciation /praɡˈmatɪk/

See synonyms for pragmatic

Translate pragmatic into Spanish


  • 1Dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.

    ‘a pragmatic approach to business ethics’
    • ‘As I read history, most of the founders were sensible and pragmatic men rather than visionary idealists.’
    • ‘This policy was based on two pragmatic considerations, and no guerilla organisation would overlook these.’
    • ‘Thus his apparent liberality on this question rested on pragmatic considerations rather than on principle.’
    • ‘He praised the practical and pragmatic approach of the college in developing a curriculum of courses designed to help students get on in the workplace.’
    • ‘However, the spokesperson said the board would take a practical and pragmatic approach to prosecutions.’
    • ‘As a philosopher, he was known for offering a commonsense, pragmatic approach to those theoretical issues that he knew required clarity.’
    • ‘All pragmatic or practical considerations have been set aside: the only question at issue is whether his beliefs about the world are true.’
    • ‘They are doing the right thing for once, so I'm not going to knock them because their reasons are pragmatic rather than ideological.’
    • ‘This leaves us with the realists, who come across as sensible, pragmatic moderates.’
    • ‘The lesson has certainly helped me rethink my politics and become more pragmatic and realistic in terms of our own struggle.’
    • ‘I know I am recommending a pragmatic rather than a principled stand, but that is what national interest and foreign policy is all about.’
    • ‘Certain civil servants were advocating a more pragmatic approach to the situation, however.’
    • ‘The Democrats decided they needed a different, more pragmatic approach in order to win.’
    • ‘All three authors point out that as a composer Stravinsky was very pragmatic.’
    • ‘But the decisions about whether or not to do them would be ruthlessly pragmatic: Would it work?’
    • ‘But for all his intellectual gifts, his kingship was essentially pragmatic.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, while it is eminently pragmatic, that doesn't mean that it's actually morally right.’
    • ‘The whirlwind tour was meant to humanize the low-cost leviathan so often depicted as self-serving and ruthlessly pragmatic.’
    • ‘He was highly practical and would come up with pragmatic solutions on various issues.’
    • ‘Or maybe he was never as pragmatic as I had given him credit for being.’
    empirical, hands-on, pragmatic, real, actual, active, applied, experiential, experimental, non-theoretical, in the field
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Relating to philosophical or political pragmatism.
      ‘Twinned to his pragmatic, populist social democracy has been a maddening Trotskyite temperament.’
      • ‘He saw the pragmatic account of meaning as a method for clearing up metaphysics and aiding scientific inquiry.’
      • ‘The upshot of this point of view is an activist or pragmatic conception of mind and knowledge.’
      • ‘Some Pascalians propose combining pragmatic and epistemic factors in a two-stage process.’
      • ‘The contextualist / pragmatic outlook provokes anxieties of its own.’
      • ‘Another aspect to this pragmatic understanding of American federalism is apparent in times of national crisis.’
      • ‘It favors pragmatic solutions over political partisanship and centrist positions over extreme ideology.’
      • ‘This is a programme that any pragmatic centre-right government could be proud of.’
      • ‘Nationalist fundamentalism as a basis for French policy gave way to pragmatic intergovernmentalism.’
      • ‘But these pragmatic matters have nothing to do with fundamental determinism.’
      • ‘But some pragmatic strategists fear that his voting record in Congress may be a bit too liberal.’
    2. 1.2Linguistics Relating to pragmatics.
      ‘On the contrary, syntax is indispensable for a pragmatic language and pragmatics is indispensable for a syntactic language.’
      • ‘This is how what linguists term pragmatic markers have arisen in languages worldwide.’
      • ‘Furthermore, they generate the same pragmatic implicatures.’
      • ‘Would not a semantically empty text, keeping only the pragmatic skeleton of a conventional letter, aptly embody the artificiality of such letters?’
      • ‘I discuss in relation to cross-cultural spoken and written data two such features, and argue that they may well lead to some form of pragmatic failure.’


Late 16th century (in the senses ‘busy, interfering, conceited’): via Latin from Greek pragmatikos ‘relating to fact’, from pragma ‘deed’ (from the stem of prattein ‘do’). The current senses date from the mid 19th century.