actively working at a profession, especially medicine or law.
actively following a specific way of life, religion, philosophy, etc.: a practicing Catholic.

Origin of practicing




habitual or customary performance; operation: office practice.
habit; custom: It is not the practice here for men to wear long hair.
repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency: Practice makes perfect.
condition arrived at by experience or exercise: She refused to play the piano, because she was out of practice.
the action or process of performing or doing something: to put a scheme into practice; the shameful practices of a blackmailer.
the exercise or pursuit of a profession or occupation, especially law or medicine: She plans to set up practice in her hometown.
the business of a professional person: The doctor wanted his daughter to take over his practice when he retired.
Law. the established method of conducting legal proceedings.
Archaic. plotting; intrigue; trickery.
Usually practices. Archaic. intrigues; plots.

verb (used with object), prac·ticed, prac·tic·ing.

to perform or do habitually or usually: to practice a strict regimen.
to follow or observe habitually or customarily: to practice one's religion.
to exercise or pursue as a profession, art, or occupation: to practice law.
to perform or do repeatedly in order to acquire skill or proficiency: to practice the violin.
to train or drill (a person, animal, etc.) in something in order to give proficiency.

verb (used without object), prac·ticed, prac·tic·ing.

to do something habitually or as a practice.
to pursue a profession, especially law or medicine.
to exercise oneself by repeated performance in order to acquire skill: to practice at shooting.
Archaic. to plot or conspire.
Also British, prac·tise (for defs 11–19).

Origin of practice

1375–1425; (v.) late Middle English practisen, practizen (< Middle French pra(c)tiser) < Medieval Latin prāctizāre, alteration of prācticāre, derivative of prāctica practical work < Greek prāktikḗ noun use of feminine of prāktikós practic; see -ize; (noun) late Middle English, derivative of the v.
Related formsprac·tic·er, nounmis·prac·tice, noun, verb, mis·prac·ticed, mis·prac·tic·ing.non·prac·tice, nounout·prac·tice, verb (used with object), out·prac·ticed, out·prac·tic·ing.o·ver·prac·tice, verb (used with object), o·ver·prac·ticed, o·ver·prac·tic·ing.pre·prac·tice, verb, pre·prac·ticed, pre·prac·tic··prac·tice, verb (used with object), re·prac·ticed, re·prac·tic·ing.

Synonyms for practice

Synonym study

2. See custom. 3. See exercise. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for practicing

Contemporary Examples of practicing

Historical Examples of practicing

  • Only going through the motions, practicing the stroke Chauncy gave us.

    Fighting the Sea

    Edward A. Rand

  • I had a vague dislike and dread of the deception which Mr. Brinkworth was practicing on the people of the inn.

    Man and Wife

    Wilkie Collins

  • It is not a question of practicing an art himself, for technical skill lies outside his province.

  • It was not costly, but it was of good tone, and Philip had passed many pleasant hours in practicing on it.

    The Young Musician

    Horatio Alger

  • Practicing sword tricks on my skirt,” said she, holding it up to show the rents, “and learning to be un coiffeur.

    The Princess Dehra

    John Reed Scott

British Dictionary definitions for practicing



a usual or customary action or proceedingit was his practice to rise at six; he made a practice of stealing stamps
repetition or exercise of an activity in order to achieve mastery and fluency
the condition of having mastery of a skill or activity through repetition (esp in the phrases in practice, out of practice)
the exercise of a professionhe set up practice as a lawyer
the act of doing somethinghe put his plans into practice
the established method of conducting proceedings in a court of law


the US spelling of practise

Word Origin for practice

C16: from Medieval Latin practicāre to practise, from Greek praktikē practical science, practical work, from prattein to do, act
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for practicing

1620s in reference to professions; from 1906 in reference to religions; present participle adjective from practice (v.).



c.1400, "to do, act;" early 15c., "to follow or employ; to carry on a profession," especially medicine, from Old French pratiser, practiser "to practice," alteration of practiquer, from Medieval Latin practicare "to do, perform, practice," from Late Latin practicus "practical," from Greek praktikos "practical" (see practical).

From early 15c. as "to perform repeatedly to acquire skill, to learn by repeated performance;" mid-15c. as "to perform, to work at, exercise." Related: Practiced; practicing.



early 15c., practise, "practical application," originally especially of medicine but also alchemy, education, etc.; from Old French pratiser, from Medieval Latin practicare (see practice (v.)). From early 15c. often assimilated in spelling to nouns in -ice. Also as practic, which survived in parallel into 19c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for practicing




To engage in the profession of medicine or one of the allied health professions.


The exercise of the profession of medicine.
The business of a practicing physician or group of physicians, including facilities and customary patients.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with practicing


In addition to the idioms beginning with practice

  • practice makes perfect
  • practice what you preach

also see:

  • in practice
  • make a practice of
  • out of practice
  • put into practice
  • sharp practice
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.