Definition of practice in English:



  • 1The actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use.

    ‘the principles and practice of teaching’
    ‘he put his self-defense training into practice by helping police arrest the armed robber’
    • ‘It sounds like a good idea but theory and practice can be very different, as we have seen all too often before in this industry.’
    • ‘We must again be aware of the gap between ideas and actual practice.’
    • ‘He said some recommendations had been put into practice while others were being implemented.’
    • ‘How is he able to put into practice what he preached?’
    • ‘As for the possibility of these suggestions being put into practice, that stage has not yet been reached.’
    • ‘There is no fancy stuff here; just straight accounting theory put into practice.’
    • ‘Army leaders at all levels should renew efforts to reduce the gap between stated beliefs and actual practice.’
    • ‘The idea was put into practice last year but it was not until this term that it really took off.’
    • ‘Each camp featured league play in two divisions, where the campers put into practice what they had learned throughout the week.’
    • ‘The third stage is actually to put into practice what we have heard and what we have contemplated.’
    • ‘This is something that is far easier to state than to put into practice.’
    • ‘In the challenge of his new role he found an opportunity to put into practice theories which had long been forming in his mind.’
    • ‘In practice, most are expected to be set up as master trusts.’
    • ‘How does our habitual practice of everyday eugenics shape our view of the world and of creation?’
    • ‘However, Elliott warns that it still needs to be evaluated before the theory is put into practice.’
    • ‘However, when lessons are learned in the abstract they are not as valuable as when put into practice, as we learned the very next day.’
    • ‘They worked hard, ran hard and trained hard, all the time trying to put into practice what their coaches were telling them.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, it often appears that she is unable to get her free-market ideas put into practice.’
    • ‘Not only are they divisive, but they might actually either have to be put into practice, or they might have to be changed.’
    • ‘The importance of this book lies in the fact that its author is concerned not just with ideas, but with actual practice.’
    application, exercise, use, operation, implementation, execution, enactment, action, doing
    use, make use of, put to use, utilize, apply, employ, exercise, put into effect, put into operation, draw on, bring into play
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The customary, habitual, or expected procedure of something.
      ‘current nursing practice’
      [count noun] ‘modern child-rearing practices’
      • ‘The practice is expected to put huge strain on the state health budget.’
      • ‘Woodrow Wilson instituted the modern practice of delivering it to congress in person.’
      • ‘The whiff of fraudulent business practices will linger.’
      • ‘It's common practice for Hollywood to remake an old movie, but today's news must be some kind of record.’
      • ‘Lobby your MP, otherwise our silence will allow this barbaric practice to carry on.’
      • ‘The point is to protect the consumer from predatory business practices.’
      • ‘With the help of scanning technology and just-in-time inventory systems, businesses changed their practices.’
      • ‘The practice was possibly carried over from a similar arrangement in Massachusetts.’
      • ‘‘The reason the magazine failed was not a failure of the message so much as lousy business practices,’ said Grace.’
      • ‘The businessmen also felt uncertain about the government's capability to enforce the law to ensure they were not hurt financially by unfair business practices.’
      • ‘They also dealt with some topics on unethical practices in business.’
      • ‘‘By ignoring ethical business practices, small businesses are missing a trick,’ he said.’
      • ‘This practice would carry on through the Apollo, Mercury, and Gemini space programs.’
      • ‘However, they have continued to carry out this practice and it's a continued difficulty.’
      • ‘We have been effective in changing cultural practices in businesses.’
      • ‘Every morning the Indian flag is ceremonially hoisted on a central flagpole, an unusual practice for businesses here.’
      • ‘A strict code of practice is followed when carrying these out to protect the interests of the young person.’
      • ‘He said admitting more patients for a short time was good medical practice, to allow doctors to make a diagnosis and provide treatment more quickly.’
      • ‘It is expected to identify practices, procedures, and guidelines that will aid faculties in developing students to their maximum potential.’
      • ‘The Federal Trade Commission handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices.’
    2. 1.2The carrying out or exercise of a profession, especially that of a doctor or lawyer.
      ‘he abandoned medical practice for the Church’
      • ‘In a statement he admitted he plans to return to medical practice.’
      • ‘The expansion of medical practice into the regulation of behaviour carries doctors beyond their sphere of expertise and competence.’
      • ‘At present, the list of colleges where doctors can qualify to practice is legislated under the Health Insurance Act.’
      • ‘It accords completely with the constitutional requirements met by most of medical practice.’
      • ‘This problem will permeate every aspect of medical research and practice in the future.’
      • ‘He figured he could always incorporate his flair for comedy into his practice as doctor.’
      • ‘I believe the most challenging aspect of all forms of medical practice is the need for, and the exercise of, judgment.’
      • ‘Consideration should be given to removing the doctor from practice in such cases.’
      • ‘Once doctors entered practice, the profession was personally remunerative as well.’
      • ‘He is a barrister and solicitor of this court, and he carries on the practice of his profession at the City of London.’
      • ‘Because of her focus on him, in her assessment of contemporary medical practice, she identifies the wrong problem.’
      • ‘The motives of the doctor and the wider context of medical practice just aren't relevant.’
      • ‘After publication, he decided to leave anatomical research to take up medical practice.’
      • ‘We documented the preferences of a range of patients within one hospital, with the aim of informing doctors' practice.’
      • ‘Once there the family found accommodation in Hindley Street where the doctor set up practice.’
      • ‘The urge to bring down the edifice of medical practice seems to me to indicate the extent to which our expectations have been brought down already.’
      • ‘Suffice it to say that this has not been my experience of the last 15 years of medical practice.’
      • ‘In good medical practice, the intention is to maximise the quality of life experienced by the patient.’
      • ‘Until recently English courts have generally adopted the standard of accepted medical practice.’
      • ‘But the main thrust of correspondence focused on the future of a particular medical practice.’
    3. 1.3The business or premises of a doctor or lawyer.
      ‘Dr. Weiss has a practice in Essex’
      • ‘A self-contained extension to the rear previously served as a doctor's practice.’
      • ‘Qualitative data showed that patients generally supported the teaching of student doctors in their practice.’
      • ‘While the name of only one doctor may appear on the contract, there may be other doctors sharing his practice.’
      • ‘The doctor's practice in Settle has about 9,000 registered patients so we can't afford to be complacent.’
      • ‘I have never been satisfied with this doctor's practice in the three years I have been there, and I really do intend to move.’
      • ‘Missed appointments at one doctors' practice in Keighley are costing £60,000 a year in wasted time.’
      • ‘He has now stopped his medical practice and is making use of his literary prowess to pen down useful material that is of some value to society.’
      • ‘Her reputation as a hardworking lawyer saw her practice grow, making her one of the five leading attorneys in Houston.’
      • ‘It will call for improved career structures to be put in place to attract doctors to rural practices and for them to be given support to keep them in their jobs.’
      • ‘Both I, and my sister's family, attend husband-and-wife doctors' practices.’
      • ‘When and if you intend to foist 3,580 patients on to doctors in other practices, what will their reaction be?’
      • ‘The only doctors' practice in Westbury is pressing ahead with plans to create three separate surgeries in the area.’
      • ‘And just like a doctors' practice, police hope the surgeries will prevent problems before they happen.’
      • ‘Of course, some are plagued by such problems due to family difficulties, but, according to a survey among doctors' practices, many are there simply because they are over-burdened.’
      • ‘Two of the groups consisted of doctors from different practices and one group comprised doctors from one practice.’
      • ‘When he was deputy governor he still ran his doctor's practice.’
      • ‘But doctors claim many practices have been forced to change their booking systems to meet the targets.’
      • ‘He sold his house to keep his medical practice going while he was away.’
      • ‘Our current building is the size now allowed for a two doctor, 4,000 patient practice, and clearly cannot cope.’
      • ‘A trail-blazing super care centre that would move three doctors' practices and a clinic to one site is a backwards step, health bosses were told.’
    4. 1.4An established method of legal procedure.
      • ‘This conclusion is completely at odds with established legal practice and principles…’
      • ‘Conveyancing practice is plainly a matter within the knowledge of the courts.’
      • ‘It is the universal practice in conveyancing that enquiries as to licences would have been made.’
      • ‘That the appellant notary acted in accordance with the then general notarial practice does not seem to be contested.’
      • ‘It is now established practice for judges to quash a conviction while suggesting that the appellants are not necessarily innocent.’
  • 2Repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.

    ‘it must have taken a lot of practice to become so fluent’
    • ‘Thus, additional practice and greater skill mastery is recommended in preparation for night diving activities.’
    • ‘The major element in such transformation was repeated practice of close order drill.’
    • ‘It takes much skill and practice to churn out terracotta articles.’
    • ‘Also, we wanted to determine whether modest practice would modify performance of either group.’
    • ‘Specifically military skills were acquired by actual practice and performance under supervision.’
    • ‘Responsible believing is a skill that can be maintained only through constant practice.’
    • ‘This game offers a great opportunity for practice of various motor skills.’
    • ‘It should be good practice for a repeat performance in March, when they go in front of the Commons' Culture Committee.’
    • ‘Continued practice and performance should easily eliminate these.’
    • ‘As with any skill, practice and repetition are the keys to confidence and competent performance.’
    • ‘Public speaking is a learned skill that requires practice, effort, and confidence building.’
    • ‘There was a ‘best dressed’ competition and lots of warm-up singing practice to kick the evening off.’
    • ‘Having little practice in the gymnastic skills, which I was forced to learn during my training, I fell flat on my back.’
    • ‘She worked very very hard on developing her skills at swimming and put in a lot of practice and training before the Olympics.’
    • ‘We have to ride close to the trees and hold our horses there to share the experience, which is good practice for our riding skills.’
    • ‘Like other skill development, intercultural skills are acquired through practice.’
    • ‘The purpose was to demonstrate that knowledge could be acquired easily but skills came with practice.’
    • ‘They are skilled manipulators who lie with the proficiency of long practice.’
    • ‘In the weeks before a performance, practice can easily consume six hours a day.’
    • ‘One of a pair of identical twins was given a lot of early practice at a particular skill, such as crawling.’
    training, rehearsal, repetition, preparation, exercise, drill, study
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1A period of time spent doing this.
      ‘daily choir practices’
      • ‘You see, cheerleading here is a year round sport with practices almost every other day, sometimes more.’
      • ‘Choir practice continues each Tuesday evening at 7.30 pm and new members would be most welcome.’
      • ‘There will be a choir practice in Ballylinan on Thursday night at 8pm, for both the folk group and the adult choir.’
      • ‘All three groups are provided the opportunity to do two-a-day practices during the summer months.’
      • ‘They must have had some interesting choir practices.’
      • ‘Swimmers have two practices daily grouped by age and ability.’
      • ‘They have been rehearsing every weekend for the last three months, stepping up to daily practices for the last couple of weeks.’
      • ‘He stays late at practice refining skills and stays late in the weight room and film room.’
      • ‘As expected, band practice takes up a nice, hefty chunk of their time.’
      • ‘The sample consisted of consecutive women attending the practices during time periods randomly selected for data collection.’
      • ‘It has been decided to start a children's choir with practices commencing on Monday 10th October at 8pm and finishing at 8.30 pm.’
      • ‘He'd had basketball practice after school and had changed clothes before he came over.’
      • ‘And the past few months your practices have ran late!’
      • ‘We constantly stress the sense of accomplishment they should carry away from practice.’
      • ‘Weekly choir practices take place in the parish church every Wednesday night at 8.00 pm.’
      • ‘She sharpens her skills at practice in preparation for a pair of weekend games.’
      • ‘A choir practice will take place in Woodfield church on this evening.’
      • ‘Choir practices are held every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. in the church and all new members are welcome.’
      • ‘Choir practice for this ceremony will take place on Monday nights.’
      • ‘Imagine the chagrin of a young team that has spent several practices learning a conventional offensive play only to meet this pattern.’


  • 1Perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one's proficiency.

    ‘I need to practice my French’
    [no object] ‘they were practicing for the Olympics’
    • ‘Of course these were the same girls who actively practiced for the day when they could try out for cheerleader and twirler.’
    • ‘The students maintained a log of the various activities and skills they had practiced and the equipment they had encountered and mastered.’
    • ‘Here are three skate drills that I've been practicing to improve my weekend turns on skis.’
    • ‘It is used for rehearsing new skills, practicing and refining existing skills, preparing for particular points, and readying for an entire match.’
    • ‘Last week we practiced techniques for managing the first stage of labor.’
    • ‘The most elite athletes use mental skills that they have practiced for years.’
    • ‘You make me know that training is also a skill which we can improve by learning and practicing.’
    • ‘The students practiced developing skills in watercolor painting with great success, and they were pleased with their achievements.’
    • ‘For two issues now, I've been helping you learn how to practice with a purpose.’
    • ‘As for me, I have been practicing honing my skills at horseback riding.’
    • ‘After that, we practiced and honed our skills at Papago Park, trying to clean as many of the ‘hard climbs’ we could find.’
    • ‘He provides five suggestions on this topic, but there's little discussion on techniques for practicing the methods.’
    • ‘How do we provide our children with opportunities to practice all these necessary skills?’
    • ‘He practices regularly to constantly improve his game though it looks like he has mastered the art of the game.’
    • ‘When appropriate these types of life skills were introduced and practiced in mock situations.’
    • ‘And we have lots of skills that they can practice in exercises that we set them.’
    • ‘After soldiers practice a technique, they talk about it to analyze what went wrong.’
    • ‘We ran a campus mile and then practiced on our foot skills and then we scrimmaged.’
    • ‘She had learned early that her only problem when fencing was her balance and she found she improved if she practiced on a fence.’
    • ‘There is truth to these beliefs, and everyone possesses the ability to improve by mentally practicing away from their instrument.’
    • ‘Madison was already an accomplished note taker of debates, having practiced and refined his skill in Congress.’
    rehearse, run through, go through, go over, work on, work at, repeat
    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
    View synonyms
  • 2Carry out or perform (a particular activity, method, or custom) habitually or regularly.

    ‘we still practice some of these rituals today’
    • ‘And when they start sex, we wanted them to practice protected sex, to use condoms.’
    • ‘This custom is still practiced among some conservative Lebanese Americans.’
    • ‘The tradition is that these methods are combined and practiced together.’
    • ‘Several distinctive traditional customs are still practiced at weddings in rural villages.’
    • ‘It is often used in Germany and the Czech Republic but similar methods are practiced all over the world.’
    • ‘Through the process of practicing the mindfulness-awareness technique on a regular basis, we can no longer hide from ourselves.’
    • ‘She practices a sophisticated method of starvation far beyond denial or purging.’
    • ‘It was an old custom, still practiced although completely unnecessary.’
    • ‘In fact, both Australia and Carleton College already practice this voting method.’
    • ‘Not surprisingly, he lost several of his teeth practicing his unique method of steer wrestling.’
    • ‘They practiced various methods of spiritual healing, color healing, massage and surgery as well as the extensive use of therapeutic herbs and foods.’
    • ‘In questioning group comparison methods we are doing no less than questioning the scientific method itself as usually practiced in psychosocial research.’
    • ‘Much of how leadership is practiced is about what you notice.’
    • ‘There are a few folks in various splinter groups practicing identity politics.’
    • ‘This is due principally to the various instructional methods being practiced in today's game.’
    • ‘A custom practiced during Shavuot is the ritual of staying up all night and reading the Torah.’
    • ‘So where are teens supposed to turn for guidance that will teach them how to practice safe sex?’
    • ‘This is the same general method practiced by economists and meteorologists: looking to the past for insight into the future.’
    • ‘This is the method typically employed by professional home inspectors and is the method practiced by most home owners as part of routine home maintenance.’
    • ‘This custom is still practiced in some rural areas of the Philippines.’
    carry out, perform, do, observe, put into practice, execute, follow, exercise
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Actively pursue or be engaged in (a particular profession or occupation)
      ‘he began to practice law’
      [no object] ‘he practiced as an attorney’
      ‘a practicing architect’
      • ‘Aside from facing federal charges, cheaters are barred from practicing their chosen profession in most cases.’
      • ‘My guess is that there are very few oncologists actively practicing today who have a history of cancer.’
      • ‘Yet he was practicing as an architect in every commission he undertook.’
      • ‘John practiced law, engaged in public service, and tried to accumulate and hold onto land.’
      • ‘The festival is a chance to go public, share our experiences, our love for this profession we practice.’
      • ‘‘A true architect practices all three professions simultaneously,’ he explains.’
      • ‘Perhaps the building works so well with the art because, more than that of any other major architect practicing today, his vision evolves out of painting.’
      • ‘To be included, participants had to be actively practicing adult critical care nursing at least 8 hours per week.’
      • ‘Even those architects and designers who practiced only in a Gothic style appreciated the possibility of an alternative mode.’
      • ‘Others are appealing pending prison sentences or have been fined and barred from practicing their profession.’
      • ‘She has practiced and taught law for more than 25 years.’
      • ‘He began his career practicing at law clinics set up by DePaul University, where he also taught for four years.’
      • ‘So, just as one becomes a good musician only by practicing an instrument, one becomes a good officer only by practicing the profession.’
      • ‘I am unsure as to whether he continues to practice, his other occupation being that of a developer.’
      • ‘He teaches science in Butare but also practices his father's career of sculptor.’
      • ‘Normally, an attorney practicing law in a state for ten years would have left a record of his experience in public documents.’
      • ‘Carving is a skilled occupation practiced only by men.’
      • ‘Together, we can celebrate our value and help our colleagues refocus their efforts on practicing our profession and not on keeping their jobs.’
      • ‘As a young adult, she supported herself as a weaver and a teacher, occupations practiced at the time by both men and women.’
      • ‘The profession you practice automatically makes you an authority on perioperative nursing.’
    2. 2.2Observe the teaching and rules of (a particular religion)
      ‘they are free to practice their religion without fear of persecution’
      ‘a practicing Roman Catholic’
      • ‘There are many other religions practiced by the minority groups.’
      • ‘The Lutheran religion as practiced in Greenland and other nations is based on a belief in the ultimate authority of God.’
      • ‘To make it worse, he has challenged me to find weaknesses in his argument, and I have delved into disproving a religion practiced by a fifth of the world.’
      • ‘For us as a community to be able to be open, and practice our religion, we must be willing let others do the same.’
      • ‘It should not be a crime to practice your religion, nor to tell others about it.’
      • ‘For example, he discovered through discussions that family coherence was more important to him than the particular type of religion practiced.’
      • ‘Most of them do not see any conflicts between the two and tend to practice both religions together.’
      • ‘He was raised a Muslim, but only recently really began practicing his religion.’
      • ‘Many of their proponents practice no religion at all and would feel no need for a theological voice.’
      • ‘In southern Sri Lanka, Buddhism is the religion practiced.’
      • ‘We have the right to practice any religion we choose, and no one can stop us.’
      • ‘There the Sicilians were free to practice the folk religion of their villages.’
      • ‘Even trees sacred to the Voodoo religion, practiced in some parts of Haiti, have not escaped the ravages of the ax.’
      • ‘Believe it or not, I was always fascinated by the way he practiced his religion, especially when his Bar Mitzvah approached.’
      • ‘The constitution does not say anything about prohibiting you or me from worshiping or practicing our religion as we please.’
      • ‘To us, the external symbols are as important as the internal dynamics of the religion we practice.’
      • ‘He was Lutheran, but he hadn't really been practicing his religion either.’
      • ‘I wondered how many times in history people had to conceal their own religions and pretend they were practicing the religion of their oppressors.’
      • ‘I don't know of any religion practicing in America today that preaches from the pulpit that what one should do is take from the least among us to give to those who have the most.’
      • ‘Even though I haven't practiced religion in years, the season of Lent still means something to me.’
    3. 2.3archaic [no object]Scheme or plot for an evil purpose.
      ‘what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive’
      • ‘Oh 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.’’
      • ‘‘O what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive’.’


  • in practice

    • 1In reality (used to refer to what actually happens as opposed to what is meant or believed to happen)

      ‘in theory this method is ideal—in practice it is unrealistic’
      • ‘He argues that in practice researchers do not base their decisions about sample size on a single estimate of a variable.’
      • ‘Thus imprisonment and the exercise of conjugal rights are incompatible in practice.’
      • ‘While these travellers might not support globalism in theory, in practice it oozes from their every pore.’
      • ‘Well, you might say, that is all very well, but how does it translate in practice?’
      • ‘It remains to be seen whether in practice the discretion is exercised lawfully.’
      • ‘There are four possible explanations for why performance data have so little influence in practice.’
      • ‘Critics, however, argued that such contracts were unenforceable in practice.’
      • ‘But many of them only serve the slogan with their lips, and do not abide by it in practice.’
      • ‘These different layers of management in practice merge into each other.’
      • ‘The current one has proved to be rather unwieldy in practice and I shall be glad to consign it to history.’
      in reality, actually, in real life, realistically, practically, effectively
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Currently proficient in a particular activity or skill as a result of repeated exercise or performance of it.
  • out of practice

    • Not currently proficient in a particular activity or skill due to not having exercised or performed it for some time.

      ‘he was out of practice at interrogation’
      • ‘He may find this hard work after having been out of practice for so long, but I suggest it will be good for him, and certainly for Australian journalism.’
      • ‘It had been a long, long, long time since I had kissed anyone, so my skills were probably way out of practice, but Jill didn't seem to care.’
      • ‘Maybe I got out of practice over the weekend, but I don't think so.’
      • ‘I'm just out of practice, or at least my legs are out of practice.’
      • ‘But being out of practice shouldn't change my way of seeing the world.’
      • ‘It was quite hard to get back into a once familiar groove of academic research, because now I have no library borrowing privileges and am out of practice with the convoluted argot in which the material is written.’
      • ‘This means that when finally offered the opportunity to speak, I'm liable to begin with apologising for being so out of practice, and then to start blithering unstoppably.’
      • ‘In an article on the front page, the revelers were referred to as ‘long-suffering fans who are a little out of practice when it comes to celebrating a championship.’’
      • ‘The ones that have been on TV lately are out of practice and come across as lame.’
      • ‘Obviously, I haven't gotten far yet: the oars are stiff and my arms sore, out of practice as they are.’
      rusty, unpractised
      View synonyms
  • practice makes perfect

    • Used to convey that regular exercise of an activity or skill is the way to become proficient in it, especially when encouraging someone to persist in it.

      • ‘Subsequently, she advises: ‘Draw like crazy; practice makes perfect.’’
      • ‘People say that practice makes perfect, but instead, every time I fail, I find I'm worse off the next time.’
      • ‘But if practice makes perfect, I'm better equipped for my next foray into self-discipline, which begins the day this column is published.’
      • ‘Remember that practice makes perfect, so kiss often and be kissed!’
      • ‘Repetition is the mother of skill, and practice makes perfect.’
      • ‘Note: if the batter is not staying together, add an egg; if it's too thin add flour, too thick, add milk - it may be necessary to adjust to get the best results - practice makes perfect, really!’
      • ‘But practice makes perfect, and my vocal speech skills can always be bettered.’
      • ‘I'm auditioning for several big events this year, and practice makes perfect.’
      • ‘When an athlete is trying to hone his or her skills the cliché often used is practice makes perfect.’
      • ‘But, working on the premise that practice makes perfect, he continues to improve and is entitled to feel he is the second best player in the world at the moment, even if his official ranking is fifth.’
  • practice what one preaches

    • Do what one advises others to do.

      • ‘But while whining about all this uncreative complaining would be the easy thing to do, it's better to practice what one preaches and find an instance where this construct works.’
      • ‘Today's greatly amplifies the need to truly practice what one preaches.’


Late Middle English: the verb 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); the noun from the verb in the earlier spelling practise, on the pattern of pairs such as advise, advice.