The earlier (17c) meaning ‘in a practical way’ (try to deal with the problem as practically as possible) has been overwhelmed since the 18c by the meaning that is now the dominant one, ‘virtually, almost’:…

• sitting through exams with practically nothing to show for them afterwards —Rosemary Sutcliff, 1983.

• I've heard it so often I've practically memorized it —S. Renee, 2005 [OEC].

Modern English usage. 2014.

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  • Practically — Prac ti*cal*ly, adv. 1. In a practical way; not theoretically; really; as, to look at things practically; practically worthless. [1913 Webster] 2. By means of practice or use; by experience or experiment; as, practically wise or skillful;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • practically — [prak′tik lē, prak′ti kə lē] adv. 1. in a practical manner 2. from a practical viewpoint 3. for all practical purposes; in effect; virtually [practically a dictator] 4. Informal almost; nearly …   English World dictionary

  • practically — for practical purposes, as good as, 1748, from PRACTICAL (Cf. practical) + LY (Cf. ly) (2) …   Etymology dictionary

  • practically — *virtually, morally …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • practically — [adj] almost; nearly about, all but, approximately, as good as, as much as, basically, close to, essentially, for all intents and purposes*, fundamentally, in effect, in essence, morally, most, much, nearly, nigh, virtually, well nigh; concepts… …   New thesaurus

  • practically — ► ADVERB 1) in a practical way. 2) virtually; almost …   English terms dictionary

  • practically — [[t]præ̱ktɪkəli[/t]] 1) ADV: ADV with group/cl Practically means almost, but not completely or exactly. He d known the old man practically all his life... I know people who find it practically impossible to give up smoking. Syn: almost 2) ADV:… …   English dictionary

  • practically — /prak tik lee/, adv. 1. in effect; virtually: It is practically useless to protest. 2. in a practical manner: to think practically. 3. from a practical point of view: Practically speaking, the plan is not very promising. 4. almost; nearly: Their… …   Universalium

  • practically — prac|ti|cally [ˈpræktıkli] adv 1.) especially spoken almost ▪ I ve read practically all of his books. ▪ She sees him practically every day. ▪ It s practically impossible to predict what will happen. ▪ The two designs were practically identical. 2 …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • practically — prac|ti|cal|ly [ præktıkli ] adverb ** 1. ) MAINLY SPOKEN almost: Allysa goes to the barn practically every day now. The system is practically impossible to deal with most of the time. That was the year of the drought when the river practically… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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