[ pruh-see-jer-uhl ]
/ prəˈsi dʒər əl /
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of or relating to a procedure or procedures, especially of a court of law, legislative body, or law enforcement agency.
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Origin of procedural

First recorded in 1885–90; procedure + -al1


pro·ce·dur·al·ly, adverbnon·pro·ce·dur·al, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does procedural mean?

Procedural is used to describe things that involve a specific procedure—a particular way of doing something, especially one that is usually repeated in the same way each time.

The word procedural is especially used in the context of formal, official procedures, such as those used in government and law. A procedural vote is typically one that is simply part of the process to move forward to a full and final vote on a matter. A procedural agreement is a kind of contract that governs how a collective bargaining process will be carried out.

Procedural can also be used as a noun to refer to a procedural drama—work of fiction, especially a TV show, that realistically portrays a kind of professional work. A common type of procedural is a police procedural. The popular show Law & Order is a procedural.

Example: This meeting is solely to deal with procedural matters—the debate on the actual issues will come later.

Where does procedural come from?

The first records of the word procedural come from the late 1800s. Its base word, procedure, comes from the French term procédure, which has the same meaning. It ultimately derives from the Latin verb prōcēdere, which means “to advance” and is also the basis of the verb proceed. The suffix -al is used to form adjectives.

A procedure is a way of proceeding—a way of taking action or completing a task—and procedural is used to describe things that follow procedures or that otherwise involve procedures. The word is typically used in the context of things done as part of a specific series of steps required to complete a process, such as a government vote or a legal proceeding.

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How is procedural used in real life?

The word procedural often describes things that are done as part of a very specific plan or set of rules. For that reason, it’s often used in serious contexts.



Try using procedural!

Is procedural used correctly in the following sentence? 

I’m a big fan of procedurals—I like to see how things work behind the scenes.

How to use procedural in a sentence