Definition of pragmatic in English:

pragmatic

adjective

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

    ‘a pragmatic approach to politics’
    • ‘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.’

Origin

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.

Pronunciation

pragmatic

/praɡˈmatɪk/