con·​se·​quence | \ ˈkän(t)-sə-ˌkwen(t)s How to pronounce consequence (audio) , -kwən(t)s \

Definition of consequence

1 : a conclusion derived through logic : inference … we can deduce … many consequences each of which can be tested by experiment.— James Bryant Conant
2 : 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
3a : importance with respect to power to produce an effect a mistake of no consequence a problem of grave international consequence
b : social importance a person of some consequence
4 : 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web This may well be the natural consequence of an organizational shift that emphasizes star reporters. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, "L’Affaire Caliphate," 5 Jan. 2021 The Post echoed concerns held by Democrats and Republicans alike that a lame-duck President Trump, unbound to any consequence and unswayed by shame, poses a danger to the future of the United States. David Goldman, CNN, "New York Post to Donald Trump: Stop the insanity," 28 Dec. 2020 Jefferson’s austere editing turns the killing almost into an afterthought—a desiccated reiteration of Socrates’ final encounter with hemlock, the simple consequence of having offended the wrong people. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, "What Thomas Jefferson Could Never Understand About Jesus," 28 Dec. 2020 Poverty is not some abstraction or a phenomena only relevant during the holidays but rather a material consequence of deliberate policy choices. Caleb Brennan, The New Republic, "Operation Santa Is a Horror Story About American Poverty," 25 Dec. 2020 But independent economists are almost united in agreeing any form of Brexit will damage the U.K. economically, an unavoidable consequence of leaving the world's largest political and economic club — not to mention its largest trading partner. NBC News, "Britain and European Union strike last-minute post-Brexit trade deal," 24 Dec. 2020 Outbreaks are increasing at an alarming rate across industries, officials say — an unavoidable consequence of so many people falling sick in the region. Los Angeles Times, "Essential California: Supermarkets hit hard by latest wave," 21 Dec. 2020 Another emerging consequence that experts fear could have serious long-term ramifications is the growing number of children disappearing from school following last spring’s COVID-19 closures. Teny Sahakian, Fox News, "Coronavirus school closures force low-income, homeless students off grid," 18 Dec. 2020 Talk of furloughs and wage cuts have become an unfortunate consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the airline industry, which has lost more than 70% of its business since the start of the pandemic. Dallas News, "Southwest Airlines issues 1,322 furlough warnings in Texas. Here’s where cuts could hit the hardest," 9 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'consequence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of consequence

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for consequence

see consequent entry 1

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Time Traveler for consequence

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for consequence

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Consequence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for consequence


How to pronounce consequence (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of consequence

: something that happens as a result of a particular action or set of conditions
formal : importance or value


con·​se·​quence | \ ˈkän-sə-ˌkwens How to pronounce consequence (audio) \

Kids Definition of consequence

1 : something produced by a cause or following from a condition Her fear of stairs is a consequence of her fall.
2 : real importance His promotion is of no consequence to me.

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