pragmatic (adj.)

1610s, "meddlesome, impertinently busy," short for earlier pragmatical, or else from French pragmatique (15c.), from Latin pragmaticus "skilled in business or law," from Greek pragmatikos "fit for business, active, business-like; systematic," from pragma (genitive pragmatos) "a deed, act; that which has been done; a thing, matter, affair," especially an important one; also a euphemism for something bad or disgraceful; in plural, "circumstances, affairs" (public or private, often in a bad sense, "trouble"), literally "a thing done," from stem of prassein/prattein "to do, act, perform" (see practical).

From 1640s as "relating to the affairs of a state or community." Meaning "matter-of-fact, treating facts systematically and practically" is from 1853 (Matthew Arnold). In some later senses from German pragmatisch.

updated on December 09, 2020