1. Capable of being effected, done, or put into practice; feasible. See Synonyms at possible.
2. Usable for a specified purpose: a practicable way of entry.
[Medieval Latin prācticābilis, capable of being used, from prācticāre, to practice, from prāctica, practice, from Greek prāktikē, practical science, from feminine of prāktikos, fit for action, practical, from prāssein, prāk-, to make, do.]
Usage Note: It is easy to confuse practicable and practical because they look so much alike and overlap in meaning. Practicable means "feasible" as well as "usable," and it cannot be applied to persons. Practical has at least six meanings, including the sense "capable of being put into effect, useful," wherein the confusion with practicable arises. But there is a subtle distinction between these words that is worth keeping. For the purpose of ordering coffee in a Parisian café, it would be practical (that is, useful) to learn some French, but it still might not be practicable for someone with a busy schedule and little time to learn.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.