Definition of impractical in English:



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

    ‘impractical high heels’
    ‘his impractical romanticism’
    • ‘I have had numerous bikes both practical and impractical, but nonetheless, I liked them all for one reason or another.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A very romantic nature can establish impractical or uncertain objectives.’
    • ‘In a 1986 book, Matsunaga came up with a brilliant, idealistic, impractical, and visionary idea.’
    • ‘There is a tendency to be impractical and too idealistic in your thinking.’
    • ‘My impractical high heels are cradled in my bag, to be slipped on later.’
    • ‘We discussed the trip and the people and whether he thought it would be impractical for me.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Pursuing art seemed impractical, so he joined the family concrete block manufacturing business.’
    • ‘He said their proposals were too widely drawn, impractical and unworkable.’
    • ‘I believe this is both wildly impractical and a recipe for failure.’
    • ‘He told me that he wanted to get me something silly, something completely impractical.’
    • ‘Was the idealism practiced by Nehru therefore impractical?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These majors were too theoretical and impractical, so that it would be hard to find a job.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Today such a view would strike most people in the business as ridiculously impractical.’
    • ‘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’.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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’
      • ‘She had certainly been an attractive woman but, as he soon discovered, she was also impractical, ineffectual and, above all, conventional.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Such is the stereotype of the impractical philosopher.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘India, for instance, makes short-term assignments impractical because of laborious visa requirements.’
    • ‘Media interest has spiralled to the point that one-on-one interviews are impractical.’
    • ‘It is generally impractical to provide reservoir storage for extremely large and infrequent floods.’
    • ‘Early in the outbreak, vaccination had been considered but was not called on because it was deemed impractical.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Banning them would probably be impractical; pricing them off the road is eminently sensible.’
    • ‘Urine tests for alcohol proved to be just as impractical in the field as blood sampling.’
    • ‘It would be impractical to ask to patients to assess their own night vision out of doors.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If a site is extremely large, it becomes impractical to create and maintain an A-Z index for it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘However, analyses of large samples are often impractical due to the expense of individual genotyping.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 the end, however, mass evacuation was deemed impractical.’
    • ‘However, the complexity of construction and the costs involved in gathering all the needed components make this impractical for most people.’
    • ‘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.’
    unrealistic, unworkable, unfeasible, non-viable, impracticable
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On the differences in the use of impractical and impracticable, see impracticable