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1610s, "meddlesome, impertinently busy," short for earlier pragmatical, or else from Middle 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). Meaning "matter-of-fact" is from 1853. In some later senses from German pragmatisch.