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Exercise vs Practice - What's the difference?

exercise | practice |

Practice is a synonym of exercise.

As nouns the difference between exercise and practice

is that exercise is any activity designed to develop or hone a skill or ability while practice is repetition of an activity to improve skill.

As verbs the difference between exercise and practice

is that exercise is to exert for the sake of training or improvement; to practice in order to develop while practice is to repeat (an activity) as a way of improving one's skill in that activity.




(en noun)
  • Any activity designed to develop or hone a skill or ability.
  • :
  • *(Edmund Spenser) (c.1552–1599)
  • *:desire of knightly exercise
  • *(John Locke) (1632-1705)
  • *:an exercise of the eyes and memory
  • Physical activity intended to improve strength and fitness.
  • *
  • *:This new-comer was a man who in any company would have seemed striking.He was smooth-faced, and his fresh skin and well-developed figure bespoke the man in good physical condition through active exercise , yet well content with the world's apportionment.
  • A setting in action or practicing; employment in the proper mode of activity; exertion; application; use.
  • *(Thomas Jefferson) (1743-1826)
  • *:exercise of the important function confided by the constitution to the legislature
  • * (1809-1892)
  • *:O we will walk this world, / Yoked in all exercise of noble end.
  • The performance of an office, ceremony, or duty.
  • *(Joseph Addison) (1672-1719)
  • *:Lewis refused even those of the church of Englandthe public exercise of their religion.
  • *(William Shakespeare) (1564-1616)
  • *:to draw him from his holy exercise
  • (lb) That which gives practice; a trial; a test.
  • *(John Milton) (1608-1674)
  • *:Patience is more oft the exercise / Of saints, the trial of their fortitude.
  • Alternative forms

    * exercice * excercise

    Derived terms

    * exercise book * exercise machine * five-finger exercise * floor exercise * military exercise


  • To exert for the sake of training or improvement; to practice in order to develop.
  • :
  • To perform physical activity for health or training.
  • :
  • To use (a right, an option, etc.); to put into practice.
  • :
  • :
  • *Bible, (w) xxii. 29
  • *:The people of the land have used oppression and exercised robbery.
  • To occupy the attention and effort of; to task; to tax, especially in a painful or vexatious manner; harass; to vex; to worry or make anxious.
  • :
  • *(and other bibliographic particulars for citation) (John Milton)
  • *:Where pain of unextinguishable fire / Must exercise us without hope of end.
  • (lb) To set in action; to cause to act, move, or make exertion; to give employment to.
  • *Bible, (w) xxiv. 16
  • *:Herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence.
  • *
  • *:Little disappointed, then, she turned attention to "Chat of the Social World," gossip which exercised potent fascination upon the girl's intelligence.
  • practice

    Alternative forms

    * (British) practise (used only for the verb )


  • Repetition of an activity to improve skill.
  • He will need lots of practice with the lines before he performs them.
  • (uncountable) The ongoing pursuit of a craft or profession, particularly in medicine or the fine arts.
  • (countable) A place where a professional service is provided, such as a general practice.
  • She ran a thriving medical practice .
  • The observance of religious duties that a church requires of its members.
  • A customary action, habit, or behavior; a manner or routine.
  • It is the usual practice of employees there to wear neckties only when meeting with customers.
    It is good practice to check each door and window before leaving.
  • Actual operation or experiment, in contrast to theory.
  • That may work in theory, but will it work in practice ?
  • (legal) The form, manner, and order of conducting and carrying on suits and prosecutions through their various stages, according to the principles of law and the rules laid down by the courts.
  • This firm of solicitors is involved in family law practice .
  • Skilful or artful management; dexterity in contrivance or the use of means; stratagem; artifice.
  • * Sir Philip Sidney
  • He sought to have that by practice which he could not by prayer.
    (Francis Bacon)
  • (math) A easy and concise method of applying the rules of arithmetic to questions which occur in trade and business.
  • Usage notes

    British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand English distinguish between practice'' (a noun) and ''practise (a verb), analogously with advice/advise. In American English, practice is commonly used for both forms, and this is also common in Canada.


    * (improvement of skill) rehearsal, drill, exercise, training, workout * (customary action) custom, habit, routine, wont, wone * fashion, pattern, trick, way, dry run, trial

    Derived terms

    * general practice * overpractice * practice makes perfect * practice what one preaches * put into practice * sharp practice


  • (US) To repeat (an activity) as a way of improving one's skill in that activity.
  • You should practice playing piano every day.
  • (US) To repeat an activity in this way.
  • If you want to speak French well, you need to practice .
  • (US) To perform or observe in a habitual fashion.
  • * {{quote-magazine, year=2012, month=March-April
  • , author=John T. Jost , title=Social Justice: Is It in Our Nature (and Our Future)? , volume=100, issue=2, page=162 , magazine=(American Scientist) citation , passage=He draws eclectically on studies of baboons, descriptive anthropological accounts of hunter-gatherer societies and, in a few cases, the fossil record. With this biological framework in place, Corning endeavors to show that the capitalist system as currently practiced in the United States and elsewhere is manifestly unfair.}}
    They gather to practice religion every Saturday.
  • (US) To pursue (a career, especially law, fine art or medicine).
  • She practiced law for forty years before retiring.
  • (intransitive, archaic, US) To conspire.
  • Usage notes

    * In sense "to repeat an activity as a way improving one's skill" this is a catenative verb that takes the gerund (-ing) . See

    Derived terms

    * practiced * practicing