con·​se·​quen·​tial ˌkän(t)-sə-ˈkwen(t)-shəl How to pronounce consequential (audio)
: of the nature of a secondary result : indirect
insurance against consequential loss
: consequent
oversupply and the consequential plummeting prices
: having significant consequences : important
a grave and consequential event
consequential decisions
consequentially adverb
consequentialness noun

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Consequential dates from the 17th century and can be traced back to the Latin verb consequi, meaning "to follow along." Consequi, in turn, combines the prefix con-, meaning "through" or "with," and sequi, meaning "to follow." The English words sequel, second, and suitor are among the offspring of sequi. Henry Fielding's 1728 comedy Love in Several Masques introduced the meaning of "important" to consequential, which had until that point been used primarily in the context of results. Evidence for this usage declined temporarily in the 19th century, causing its acceptability to be questioned by such commentators as H. W. Fowler; it resurfaced in the 20th century, however, and is now considered standard.

Examples of consequential in a Sentence

There have been several consequential innovations in their computer software. The change to the schedule is not consequential.
Recent Examples on the Web That innate knowledge of the artistry and musicality of Bob Marley & the Wailers allowed Barrett Jr. to pick up some slack on minor details which also doubled as incredibly consequential components of the film’s major music scenes. Kyle Denis, Billboard, 17 Feb. 2024 For such a consequential update, Apple will march forth on March 4th. David Phelan, Forbes, 16 Feb. 2024 But there might be little Mr. Trump can do to thwart one of the judge’s most consequential punishments: extending for three years the appointment of an independent monitor who is the court’s eyes and ears at the Trump Organization. Ben Protess, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2024 The use of algorithms to make consequential decisions in many different sectors, including both crime-solving and health care, has raised alarms for consumers and advocates as a result of such research. Lauren Feiner, The Verge, 15 Feb. 2024 The current high court is no stranger to consequential rulings. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, 7 Feb. 2024 Johnson & Johnson faces a consequential new class action lawsuit — not in its role as a manufacturer of drugs, but as an employer and purchaser of prescription drugs for its workers, Bob Herman and Ed Silverman report. Sarah Owermohle, STAT, 6 Feb. 2024 But the case has the potential to be highly consequential. Joel Khalili, WIRED, 5 Feb. 2024 Prognosticators say that picking a chief is one of the most consequential decisions a mayor makes, and Bass may decide to appoint a woman or a Latino for the first time in the department’s long history. Libor Jany, Los Angeles Times, 6 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History


borrowed from Medieval Latin consequentiālis, from Latin consequentia "succession of events, consequence" + -ālis -al entry 1

First Known Use

1626, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of consequential was in 1626


Dictionary Entries Near consequential

Cite this Entry

“Consequential.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


con·​se·​quen·​tial ˌkän(t)-sə-ˈkwen-chəl How to pronounce consequential (audio)
: having important consequences

Legal Definition


con·​se·​quen·​tial ˌkän-si-ˈkwen-chəl How to pronounce consequential (audio)
: of the nature of an indirect or secondary result

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