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In some professions, a small business is called a practice rather than business, store, shop, etc. The term is often interchangeable with “office.” Practice is most commonly used by those who operate their own legal or medical business, such as a law practice or a chiropractic practice. Generally, only businesses of a smaller size refer to their business as a practice. For example, a law business that has many employees would most likely be called a firm, not a practice.

Practice can also refer to common or expected behaviors, activities, or procedures  amongst a group of people. This can also be termed common practice or best practice. Practice can be used to describe the actions amongst particular cultures or cultural groups. It can also describe the customary or requisite behaviors amongst certain businesses or industries. This can be important in lawsuits when determining if someone acted reasonably given a certain situation or if they conformed to industry standards. Generally, if an injury occurred but the defendant’s actions conformed with the common practices of an injury, that defendant might be less likely to be considered negligent.

[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]