Definition of impractical in English:



  • 1Not adapted for use or action; not sensible or realistic.

    ‘impractical high heels’
    ‘his impractical romanticism’
    • ‘There is a tendency to be impractical and too idealistic in your thinking.’
    • ‘A native of Los Angeles, Strawn is a great believer in ‘that little voice you hear inside’ that tells you to do things that seem at best impractical, at worst crazy.’
    • ‘Was the idealism practiced by Nehru therefore impractical?’
    • ‘To brush this consideration aside as idealistic and impractical would be to miss the truth that there is, on occasion, nothing so practical as the right ideal.’
    • ‘In a 1986 book, Matsunaga came up with a brilliant, idealistic, impractical, and visionary idea.’
    • ‘We discussed the trip and the people and whether he thought it would be impractical for me.’
    • ‘Today such a view would strike most people in the business as ridiculously impractical.’
    • ‘A very romantic nature can establish impractical or uncertain objectives.’
    • ‘We hope he will join us in looking for realistic proposals to solve this problem instead of inventing impractical schemes like some latter day Walter Mitty.’
    • ‘He told me that he wanted to get me something silly, something completely impractical.’
    • ‘I have had numerous bikes both practical and impractical, but nonetheless, I liked them all for one reason or another.’
    • ‘These majors were too theoretical and impractical, so that it would be hard to find a job.’
    • ‘Pursuing art seemed impractical, so he joined the family concrete block manufacturing business.’
    • ‘Thus, encourage every single member of your team to be an ideas scout - not all new ideas may be practical - but the impractical ideas could lead to superior ideas.’
    • ‘There is something about a person who covers themselves in impossibly impractical cream clothes that says ‘I'm special, you're not; don't bother me’.’
    • ‘My impractical high heels are cradled in my bag, to be slipped on later.’
    • ‘There is much in the words and thoughts of the Romantic poets that is excessive or impractical, but their beliefs and the passion with which they pursued them still serve as an example.’
    • ‘I believe this is both wildly impractical and a recipe for failure.’
    • ‘He said their proposals were too widely drawn, impractical and unworkable.’
    • ‘But there was no aviation bureaucracy to stifle initiative and smother the life from our most wild and impractical dreams - an endangered species if there was one.’
    unsuitable, not sensible, inappropriate, unserviceable
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    1. 1.1 (of a person) not skilled or interested in doing practical work.
      ‘Paul was impractical and dreamy’
      • ‘Melanie cleans office buildings hut dreams of a better life that Teddo, an idealistic and impractical dreamer, cannot provide.’
      • ‘The West Wing is complete fiction, a never-could-happen-in-real-life ride through idealized politics and equally impractical individuals.’
      • ‘She had certainly been an attractive woman but, as he soon discovered, she was also impractical, ineffectual and, above all, conventional.’
      • ‘Academics are supposed to be the impractical ones: the theorists.’
      • ‘‘I found myself being called a tool of the Communists and an impractical religious visionary,’ Ryan wrote.’
      • ‘Such is the stereotype of the impractical philosopher.’
      • ‘She is most like Marianne in temperament - romantic, impractical, and loving.’
      • ‘People who are smart but don't get things done often have PhDs and work in big companies where nobody listens to them because they are completely impractical.’
      unrealistic, idealistic, head-in-the-clouds, out of touch with reality, romantic, dreamy, fanciful, starry-eyed, visionary, quixotic
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  • 2North American Impossible to do; impracticable.

    • ‘It is generally impractical to provide reservoir storage for extremely large and infrequent floods.’
    • ‘However, the complexity of construction and the costs involved in gathering all the needed components make this impractical for most people.’
    • ‘Television chiefs had considered using a genuine Hindu temple in the city for filming, but realised it would be impractical to take over a place of religious worship for an estimated six days.’
    • ‘In addition, you could fit 200 mm glass fibre insulation between the joists beneath the bedroom floorboards, though this can prove impractical since it involves lifting up the flooring in the bedroom.’
    • ‘However, analyses of large samples are often impractical due to the expense of individual genotyping.’
    • ‘India, for instance, makes short-term assignments impractical because of laborious visa requirements.’
    • ‘It would be impractical to ask to patients to assess their own night vision out of doors.’
    • ‘The production of similar fuels from water, CO 2, and sunlight is at present impractical because the required devices are either costly or inefficient.’
    • ‘‘It would be unrealistic and impractical to expect the HSA to provide a constant presence in every workplace,’ said Minister Kitt.’
    • ‘In practice, it proved impractical to sustain all the original principles in this legislation, particularly the principle that a married couple would share a common nationality.’
    • ‘Media interest has spiralled to the point that one-on-one interviews are impractical.’
    • ‘Urine tests for alcohol proved to be just as impractical in the field as blood sampling.’
    • ‘In the end, however, mass evacuation was deemed impractical.’
    • ‘Early in the outbreak, vaccination had been considered but was not called on because it was deemed impractical.’
    • ‘The Kyoto Protocol was derided by some in the United States as a fantasy, impractical to implement and unfair in that it did not enlist developing countries in this ‘global’ effort.’
    • ‘Since this is difficult and it may be impractical for you to create an ‘allergy-proof’ home, at least make sure your bedroom is as allergen-free as possible.’
    • ‘If a site is extremely large, it becomes impractical to create and maintain an A-Z index for it.’
    • ‘Banning them would probably be impractical; pricing them off the road is eminently sensible.’
    • ‘It would have been impractical for the Palace Theatre to contact all ticket holders in time for today's first performance, especially when it was not known what the problem was or whether it could be fixed until the engineer had arrived.’
    • ‘It is obvious that it is generally impractical for judges, as a result of their position, to personally counter political attacks.’
    unrealistic, unworkable, unfeasible, non-viable, impracticable
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On the differences in the use of impractical and impracticable, see impracticable