con·​se·​quence ˈkän(t)-sə-ˌkwen(t)s How to pronounce consequence (audio)
: a conclusion derived through logic : inference
… we can deduce … many consequences each of which can be tested by experiment.James Bryant Conant
: something produced by a cause or necessarily following from a set of conditions
the economic consequences of the war
This refined taste is the consequence of education and habit.Joshua Reynolds
: importance with respect to power to produce an effect
a mistake of no consequence
a problem of grave international consequence
: social importance
a person of some consequence
: the appearance of importance
especially : self-importance
You will find his consequence very just and reasonable when you see him in his family. … He has a fine dignified manner, which suits the head of such a house … Jane Austen
in consequence
: as a result
Choose the Right Synonym for consequence

importance, consequence, moment, weight, significance mean a quality or aspect having great worth or significance.

importance implies a value judgment of the superior worth or influence of something or someone.

a region with no cities of importance

consequence generally implies importance because of probable or possible effects.

the style you choose is of little consequence

moment implies conspicuous or self-evident consequence.

a decision of great moment

weight implies a judgment of the immediate relative importance of something.

the argument carried no weight with the judge

significance implies a quality or character that should mark a thing as important but that is not self-evident and may or may not be recognized.

the treaty's significance

Examples of consequence in a Sentence

The slightest error can have serious consequences. What were the economic consequences of the war? The decrease in sales was a consequence of some bad publicity about the company. Some say many jobs will be lost as a consequence of the trade agreement. He weighed the consequences of making a career change. The style you choose is of no consequence. See More
Recent Examples on the Web And whatever the unforeseeable consequences of a long and bitter strike, the immediate impact will be minimal. Michael E. Kanell, ajc, 15 Sep. 2023 There has been some recent public discussion of warrant reform, particularly in the wake of the Justice Department’s Ferguson investigation and the horrific consequences of no-knock warrants that caused Breonna Taylor’s death at the hands of police. WIRED, 14 Sep. 2023 The child poverty rate in the U.S. spiked The consequences of our pandemic support ending were swift and enduring, for children and for those who care for them. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2023 The consequences of the situation could also be felt in a battle at sea, where China would have the ability to produce, repair and replace naval vessels at a faster rate than the United States. Michael Lee, Fox News, 14 Sep. 2023 And the consequences of that are physically manifest in school buildings. Chris Hacker, CBS News, 14 Sep. 2023 Read full article In less time than a movie double-feature, enough water fell to wash out roads and train tracks, deluge homes and businesses in several feet of water, and force evacuations— the consequences of flash flooding that experts say is a hallmark of climate change. Sabrina Shankman,, 13 Sep. 2023 Several conservatives were quick to question the deal and the consequences of it. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, 13 Sep. 2023 The aim is to protect your father from the consequences of your decision without relinquishing your right to make it. Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York Times, 13 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'consequence.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, "result, outcome, something following logically from a premise," borrowed from Anglo-French consequens, consequence, borrowed from Latin consequentia "succession of events, logical outcome, necessary sequence," noun derivative of consequent-, consequens, past participle of consequī "to come after, succeed in time, follow as a necessary consequence" — more at consequent entry 2

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of consequence was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near consequence

Cite this Entry

“Consequence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


con·​se·​quence ˈkän(t)-sə-ˌkwen(t)s How to pronounce consequence (audio)
: importance that comes from the power to produce an effect
a mistake of no consequence

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