adjective Also prag·mat·i·cal (for defs. 1, 2, 5).
- busy; active.
- officious; meddlesome; interfering.
- dogmatic; opinionated.
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Origin of pragmatic
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What does pragmatic mean?
Pragmatic means practical, especially when making decisions.
The word pragmatic is often contrasted with the word idealistic, which means based on or having high principles or ideals. Pragmatic, on the other hand, means based on real world conditions or circumstances—considering what can realistically be done as opposed to the best theoretical course of action. A person who acts pragmatically can be called a pragmatist.
The noun form of pragmatic is pragmatism. Pragmatism can mean the practice of being pragmatic, but it can also more specifically refer to the philosophical movement that emphasizes practical consequences in the determination of meaning, truth, or value.
Example: We need a candidate who’s pragmatic and can get things done in the real world—not some idealist who will never compromise.
Where does pragmatic come from?
The first records of the word pragmatic come from the 1580s. It comes from the Greek pragmatikós, meaning “practical,” from pragma, meaning “act,” from prā́ssein, “to do.” The words practical and praxis derive from the same root.
Idealistic people are sometimes told they need to be more pragmatic. Typically, this means that they should focus on the realistic options or courses of action (the pragmatic ones) instead of only trying to achieve the best-case scenario—the one based on their ideals. Of course, many people navigate life with a balance of pragmatism and idealism: sometimes they compromise, and sometimes they stick to their principles no matter what.
The word pragmatic isn’t always contrasted with idealistic. Sometimes, it’s just used as a way of describing something as practical, logical, or sensible. The word is most often applied to people, actions, or plans.
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How is pragmatic used in real life?
Pragmatic is commonly used in a positive way to praise choices or actions that are considered practical and reasonable. It’s often applied to political positions or actions.
I hate Twitter takes. Almost no one that you actually see on the timeline takes a pragmatic, middle of the road position (that takes arguments from each side into account) because it doesn’t get as much engagement & therefore isn’t rewarded by the timeline Algorithm.
— Robotbeat🗽🖖🏾 (@Robotbeat) May 9, 2020
ideal product leader's ethos:
super optimistic about future, pragmatic about progress, paranoid about the present, unencumbered by the past.
— scott belsky (@scottbelsky) May 8, 2020
Education and career opportunities of our students are under threat. Governments need to be pragmatic to promote them based on their past performance and waive their tuition fees. We must also adhere to the academic calendar using technological solutions #WaiveFeePromoteStudents
— Congress Sevadal (@CongressSevadal) May 11, 2020
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Which of the following words is LEAST like to describe an action considered pragmatic?
Example sentences from the Web for pragmatic
We urge regulators to adopt a pragmatic and proportionate approach until a sustainable long-term solution can be reached.Facebook seeks fresh legal delay to block order to suspend its transatlantic data transfers|Natasha Lomas|September 11, 2020|TechCrunch
That would be one pragmatic reason to resolve the dispute about belief, if it’s really just a terminological dispute, in my favor.Believing in Monsters: David Livingstone Smith on the Subhuman - Facts So Romantic|Eric Schwitzgebel|September 11, 2020|Nautilus
The movement is a call to action for studios to make movies, for artists to paint pictures, and for anyone with access to the means of creation and communication to participate in the most pragmatic form of dreaming.Solarpunk Is Growing a Gorgeous New World in the Cracks of the Old One|Carin Ism|September 6, 2020|Singularity Hub
There should be more voices from the business world, from a new generation, and more courage to be pragmatic instead of appeal to extremes in both parties.Brynne Kennedy could be the first female tech founder to serve in Congress|ehinchliffe|August 24, 2020|Fortune
It is an unavoidable recognition by pragmatic business leaders—reinforced by their customers, investors and employees—that society faces an existential threat.
But, as far as I can discern, they do focused, pragmatic work.
Chase supplements this general directive with some more pragmatic suggestions for women looking to find sexual fulfillment.Was 2014 the Year Science Discovered The Female Orgasm?|Samantha Allen|December 6, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Mixner, both passionate and pragmatic, found a focus in his activism.Gay Activist David Mixner: I Mercy Killed 8 People|Tim Teeman|October 29, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Fairchild considers herself a pragmatic liberal—a registered Democrat and “kind of a boring moderate.”
The aim is very pragmatic and much less idealistic than, say, similar protests in Egypt or Turkey in the last few years.Beijing/Hong Kong: A Tale of Two Cities as Demonstrations Continue|Ben Leung|October 1, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Which runs directly into the throat of said Pragmatic Sanction; and engages to make it, mere waste sheepskin, so to speak!History Of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. VII. (of XXI.)|Thomas Carlyle
His father had guaranteed the pragmatic sanction, but as the conditions on which the guarantee had Frederick the Great.
The operation once accomplished on its own Pragmatic Covenant, France found no difficulty with the others.
Pragmatic Sanction like to be ruined; and Walpole furiously thrown out: what a pair of sorrows for poor George!
It is pragmatic; the patient is taught that his thinking is a way of functioning; that ideas are instruments, ways of acting.The Behavior of Crowds|Everett Dean Martin