Long Definition:

prag·mat·ic    Audio Help   [prag-mat-ik] Pronunciation KeyShow IPA Pronunciation


1. of or pertaining to a practical point of view or practical considerations.
2. Philosophy. of or pertaining to pragmatism (def. 2).
3. of or pertaining to pragmatics (defs. 1, 2).
4. treating historical phenomena with special reference to their causes, antecedent conditions, and results.
5. of or pertaining to the affairs of state or community.
6. Archaic.

a. busy; active.
b. officious; meddlesome; interfering.
c. dogmatic; opinionated.


7. pragmatic sanction.
8. Archaic. an officious or meddlesome person.
Also, prag·mat·i·cal (for defs. 1, 2, 5).

[Origin: 1580–90; < L pr?gmaticus < Gk pr?gmatikós practical, equiv. to pr?gmat- (s. of prâgma) deed, state business (deriv. of prssein to do, fare; see practic) + -ikos -ic]

prag·mat·i·cal·i·ty, prag·mat·i·cal·ness, noun
prag·mat·i·cal·ly, adverb

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

NOTE: I've only seen definition 1 above used on the GRE.

Short Definition:


  • Let's be pragmatic.  There's no need to argue about whether or not the Toyota or the Lexus is more powerful, since we can't afford the Lexus anyway.
  • Her pragmatic approach to governance–championing approaches that were effective rather than those that were appealing–made her a very effective leader.
  • Pragmatism says we ignore beauty and concentrate on effectiveness.



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