Definition of practise in English:


(US practice)


  • 1Perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to acquire, improve or maintain proficiency in it:

    ‘I need to practise my French’
    [no object] ‘they were practising for the Olympics’
    • ‘I spend a lot of time practising the skills I need to survive under water, and this is important in ensuring that you have the correct mental attitude.’
    • ‘Then, in pairs, we practise ball skills, with the emphasis on making your partner stretch and sprint for the ball, placing it at random.’
    • ‘When this is the purpose, one practises constantly and vigorously.’
    • ‘I come away after losing and work out exactly what went wrong - I plan and plot and practise and put it right.’
    • ‘For many, driving off road will be a new experience and, if it's to be a regular activity, driving courses are available to practise the required skills.’
    • ‘So, we have an author who has been writing (i.e. practising his skills) for well over twenty years, and a writer who is quite smart enough to do his research.’
    • ‘Racers across Chippenham are busy practising their flipping skills this week in the run up to the town's annual pancake showdown on Tuesday.’
    • ‘Most importantly, learners must have the opportunity to develop and practise skills that directly improve self directed learning.’
    • ‘Therefore, while the results of your education should stay with you forever, skills that are not practised are usually soon lost.’
    • ‘Unable to sit still, Olivia rose to her feet and walked the length of the terrace, practising the calming exercises Ben had taught her.’
    • ‘The fearless teenager is practising his mountain unicycling skills in preparation for a charity ride.’
    • ‘Gill has worked in the area for the past five years but has been practising her design skills for around 20 years.’
    • ‘In response, he skipped school for ten straight days so he could practise and improve his skills.’
    • ‘This is an idea spot for practising your skating skills.’
    • ‘At a recent health check-up, my GP suggested that I would benefit from practising deep-breathing exercises to calm me down and generally improve my health.’
    • ‘Kelly was keen to improve her breathing and practised her exercises diligently.’
    • ‘Young bikers are dicing with death by practising their skills on a piece of wasteland.’
    • ‘Smaller pieces of material will be available for visitors to Barley Hall to have a go at practising their needlework skills while the project is under way.’
    • ‘Jack was still practising his speech-writing skills.’
    • ‘First the Buddha practised an exercise in breath control, which involved retaining the breath for longer and longer periods of time.’
    train, rehearse, prepare, exercise, drill, work out, warm up, go through one's paces, keep one's hand in, get into shape, do exercises, study
    rehearse, run through, go through, go over, work on, work at, repeat
    View synonyms
  • 2Carry out or perform (a particular activity, method, or custom) habitually or regularly:

    ‘we still practise some of these rituals today’
    • ‘If the purpose of practising Yoga is physical benefit, that is the level on which effects will be felt.’
    • ‘Today, according to the Third World Network, conservation agriculture is practised in about 58 million hectares.’
    • ‘Sexual partners will be more vulnerable if they practise unsafe sex than if their activities are low risk.’
    • ‘The event, and its proceeds, is meant to help farmers who practise traditional farming methods.’
    • ‘He accused the Fisheries Department of trying to prevent his people from practising their traditions and culture.’
    • ‘But in the modern politics practised by the conservatives, campaign strategy has to be watched more closely.’
    • ‘Do other boroughs practise such discrimination?’
    • ‘Only a society that practised the customs could decide if they needed review.’
    • ‘He has a day job as a human resources manager in York, but by night and weekends he and his business partner practise techniques to train horses with alternative treatments.’
    • ‘The former playgroup leader has been practising the discipline for 13 years and is now a professional Tai Chi teacher.’
    • ‘The custom was practised locally but not recognised by the company but some of the apprentices said they had been unaware of this.’
    • ‘Having practised the discipline since the age of 15, Rebecca is used to gruelling training routines.’
    • ‘It is a custom practised by thousands of people from various parts of South Africa and reflects their heritage and their pride in who they are.’
    • ‘This custom was not practised during the lifetime of the Buddha and it is not known when it was introduced in south-east Asia.’
    • ‘In my teenage years I practised certain evil habits, of which I am too ashamed even to make mention.’
    • ‘The system may be consigned to the past, but there are still people alive who practise discrimination and people who were hurt by it; that is not going to disappear overnight.’
    • ‘Activists stymied the justice system and the business world by practising the politics of ethnic grievance.’
    • ‘Behavioural data from the United Kingdom are consistent with this view, although equally many people, especially young people, are practising safe sex.’
    • ‘The young woman behind the counter in the office at Telegraph Cove down the coast was practising diplomacy on some disgruntled tourists when I arrived.’
    • ‘For centuries astrologers have practised a technique of divination which relies on this same moment-by-moment interconnectedness of mind and universe.’
    carry out, perform, do, observe, put into practice, execute, follow, exercise
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Actively pursue or be engaged in (a particular profession or occupation):
      ‘he began to practise law’
      [no object] ‘he practised as a barrister’
      ‘a practising architect’
      • ‘After Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge, Pepys practised law and was brought into Parliament in 1831 on the Fitzwilliam interest.’
      • ‘He was later forced to surrender his license to practise law.’
      • ‘Although the applicants do not practise immigration law, it was clear from the evidence that uncertainties in this field were causing great concern to firms that did.’
      • ‘He completed his law degree in 1906 and in 1909 qualified for the New Zealand bar, but he didn't continue to practise law.’
      • ‘She claimed that her right to privacy, dignity and to freely practise her occupation had been violated, and asked that the search warrant be set aside and the raid be declared unlawful.’
      • ‘As a young man Montaigne practised law in Bordeaux and also resided frequently at court.’
      • ‘He may be dragged before the Grievances Committee of the US courts and de-barred from practising law for attempting to sell the evidence.’
      • ‘Her misdeeds eventually led her to be banned from practising law for seven years.’
      • ‘They both spent time practising law, but they were politically active while doing it.’
      • ‘Settled in different cities and practising various professions, most of the alumni had little time for art.’
      • ‘Perhaps the most important way in which the Revolution affected architecture in France, however, was through the decline in commissions for practising architects.’
      • ‘He saw ‘no reason why his illness should prevent him from practising his profession.’’
      • ‘Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practising law somewhere.’
      • ‘New laws were passed preventing them from practising law, serving as officers in the Army or Navy, or voting in local or Parliamentary elections.’
      • ‘He was granted a ticket-of-leave soon after he arrived and began practising his former profession.’
      • ‘The facts there were that an American citizen, with his ordinary residence and indeed practising the law in New York, took a three-year lease of a furnished shooting lodge in Scotland.’
      • ‘He went on to teach and practise law until appointed assistant US Attorney-General by Eisenhower in 1953.’
      • ‘The centre now has nearly 300 members, all of whom are nurses who are not practising their profession.’
      • ‘He is equipped with a degree in medicine but has never practised the profession.’
      • ‘To practise law in a specific state within the United States requires permission of that state.’
      work at, pursue a career in, have a career in, go in for, engage in, specialize in, ply, follow
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 Observe the teaching and rules of (a particular religion):
      ‘a practising Roman Catholic’
      • ‘Muslims should, of course, be free to practise their religion here, just as those of other religions, or none at all, must be free to attack, deride, score or make jokes about all religions.’
      • ‘This is a rather odd endeavour for someone who neither believes in nor practises the Vedic religion, nor has ever shown any respect for its great ancient or modern teachers, much less sought to be a disciple in any Vedic tradition or lineage.’
      • ‘However, some of today's most widely practised religions began as stigmatized worship groups.’
      • ‘The true doctrine of the Quran, the Islamic holy book, says clearly that people are free to practise their religion as they see fit.’
      • ‘Meditation classes and a week-long retreat for practising Buddhists will begin in January.’
      • ‘Indeed, they're broadly in line with the teachings of Catholicism - a religion practised by millions of people across Europe.’
      • ‘In these culturally sensitive times, the film is quick to point out that Hoodoo is not Voodoo, a West African religion practised by millions.’
      • ‘And, finally, they practised the local religions and accepted the local shamanistic beliefs, and did so with their characteristic intensity.’
      • ‘Religion is practised passionately with many a young boy aspiring to become a Buddhist monk.’
      • ‘In Australia, Spiritualism is practised by all kinds of groups, organisations, individuals and churches.’
      • ‘A key point for believers is that they also believe that practising their religion is directly linked with their destiny.’
      • ‘The Christian religion is practised alongside cultural religious practices.’
      • ‘She added: ‘All we ask for is respect for our right to practise our religion.’’
      • ‘Buddhism, along with Taoism, are among the most widely practised religions in the predominately ethnic Chinese city state.’
      • ‘Did these soldiers truly believe the things they were saying about us and were they truly threatened by the fact that we practised our religion?’
      • ‘In Russia, four traditional religions are practised: Orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.’
      • ‘In other words Christians and Jews were free to practise their religions so long as they did not do so publicly.’
      • ‘Each person and each group is free to practise their religion, their beliefs, and their fundamental driving forces.’
      • ‘The only religions today with practising male majorities are eastern Orthodoxy, Islam, Orthodox Judaism and eastern creeds such as Buddhism.’
      • ‘For about a half century of Sikh rule, the Sikhs practised their religion and looked after their sacred places with devotion and dignity.’
      practising, obedient, dutiful, conformist, conforming
      View synonyms
  • 3archaic [no object] Scheme or plot for an evil purpose:

    ‘what a tangled web we weave when we first practise to deceive’
    • ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive.’
    • ‘‘O what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive’.’
    • ‘As the poet once penned: ‘What a tangled web we weave when at first we practice to deceive.’’


On the difference between practise and practice, see practice


  • practise what one preaches

    • Do what one advises others to do.

      • ‘Remember, your children must see you practicing what you preach.’
      • ‘You can't let your protégé down; you have to practice what you preach, and that spurs you to try harder.’
      • ‘Just be sure to practice what you preach and avoid getting so wrapped up in other people's problems that you forget to have fun and take care of your own life!’
      • ‘I guess there is one thing in being a critic, and a whole new ballgame when it come to practicing what you preach.’
      • ‘The greatest show of leadership has been since time immemorial measured by the ability to practice what you preach.’
      • ‘Please practise what you preach or we will give you the boot!’
      • ‘Why don't you practice what you preach, and not be such a hypocrite?’
      • ‘Students may read your published work in order to find proof that you don't always practise what you preach.’
      • ‘My mother often told me to practice what you preach.’
      • ‘If you are going to stand around and preach your morals to everyone, try practicing what you preach.’


Late Middle English: from Old French practiser or medieval Latin practizare, alteration of practicare perform, carry out, from practica practice, from Greek praktikē, feminine (used as a noun), of praktikos (see practical).