use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

Learn what the dictionary tells you about words.

Get Started Now!

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you enter them into the search window. If a compound term doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, try entering the term into the search window and then hit the search button (instead of the “enter” key). Alternatively, begin searches for compound terms with a quotation mark.

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. The Panelists are surveyed annually to gauge the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

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:

Indo-European Roots

Semitic Roots

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.

open-icon

OPEN DICTIONARY PROJECT

Share your ideas for new words and new meanings of old words!

Start Sharing Now!

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

prac·tice (prăktĭs)
Share:
v. prac·ticed, prac·tic·ing, prac·tic·es
v.tr.
1. To do or perform habitually or customarily; make a habit of: practices courtesy in social situations.
2. To do or perform (something) repeatedly in order to acquire or polish a skill: practice a dance step.
3. To give lessons or repeated instructions to; drill: practiced the students in handwriting.
4. To work at, especially as a profession: practice law.
5. To carry out in action; observe: practices a religion piously.
6. Obsolete To plot (something evil).
v.intr.
1. To do something repeatedly in order to acquire or polish a skill: With any musical instrument, you need to practice to get better.
2. To work at a profession: How long has that lawyer been practicing?
3. To do or perform something habitually or repeatedly: Why not practice in the same manner that you preach?
4. Archaic To intrigue or plot.
n.
1. A habitual or customary action or way of doing something: makes a practice of being punctual.
2.
a. Repeated performance of an activity in order to learn or perfect a skill: Practice will make you a good musician.
b. A session of preparation or performance undertaken to acquire or polish a skill: goes to piano practice weekly; scheduled a soccer practice for Saturday.
c. Archaic The skill so learned or perfected.
d. The condition of being skilled through repeated exercise: out of practice.
3. The act or process of doing something; performance or action: a theory that is difficult to put into practice.
4. Exercise of an occupation or profession: the practice of law.
5. The business of a professional person: an obstetrician with her own practice.
6. A habitual or customary action or act: That company engages in questionable business practices. Facial tattooing is a standard practice among certain peoples.
7. Law The procedure for trial of cases in a court of law, usually specified by rules.
8. Archaic
a. The act of tricking or scheming, especially with malicious intent.
b. A trick, scheme, or intrigue.

[Middle English practisen, from Old French practiser, alteration of practiquer, from practique, practice, from Medieval Latin prāctica; see PRACTICABLE.]

practic·er n.

Synonyms: practice, exercise, rehearse
These verbs mean to do repeatedly to acquire or maintain proficiency: practice the shot put; exercising one's wits; rehearsed the play for 14 days. See Also Synonyms at habit.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.