con·se·quen·tial | \ ˌkän(t)-sə-ˈkwen(t)-shəl \

Definition of consequential 

1 : of the nature of a secondary result : indirect insurance against consequential loss

2 : consequent oversupply and the consequential plummeting prices

3 : having significant consequences : important a grave and consequential event consequential decisions

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Other words from consequential

consequentiality \ˌkän(t)-sə-ˌkwen(t)-shē-ˈa-lə-tē \ noun
consequentially \ˌkän(t)-sə-ˈkwen(t)-sh(ə-)lē \ adverb
consequentialness \ˌkän(t)-sə-ˈkwen(t)-shəl-nəs \ noun

Did You Know?

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

Speaking at a news conference in Anchorage last Monday, Murkowski said Trump should pick a nominee in the same mold as Kennedy and highlighted his role as the swing vote in many consequential decisions, according to the Associated Press. Eliza Collins, USA TODAY, "These six senators could make or break President Trump's Supreme Court nominee," 9 July 2018 Which brings us to Mr. Comey’s potentially most consequential decision, his reopening of the Hillary email investigation just before Election Day, which many Democrats and independent analysts say may inadvertently have elected Mr. Trump. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Why the CIA Needs Its Own Horowitz Report," 29 June 2018 The mayor’s pick for schools chancellor is one of her most politically consequential decisions and will signal the direction Bowser has chosen for a system that educates about 49,000 children. Perry Stein, Washington Post, "D.C. mayor launches search for next public schools chancellor," 28 June 2018 But the most consequential appointment might be Hedi Slimane to Céline. Cam Wolf, GQ, "Hedi Slimane's Céline Will Borrow a Trick from the Supreme Playbook," 8 June 2018 And the board, which influences all aspects of Kentucky’s public schools, has many consequential decisions ahead, including whether the state should take control of JCPS. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, "Hal Heiner could become chairman of state ed board under rules change," 6 June 2018 But Trump’s two recent surprises are far more consequential than his comments on DACA and gun control, which created confusion that the White House staff could clean up by denying the plain meaning of Trump’s words. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "The Bittersweetness of a Rogue President," 12 Mar. 2018 But there was also an enormously consequential failing: far too much US policy investment in Boris Yeltsin. Neil Swidey,, "The backstory on this alternate version of presidential history," 10 July 2018 While the latest opening on the Supreme Court is commanding all the attention, with Mr. Trump set to announce his pick on Monday night, the nominees to the lower courts are also consequential. CBS News, "Man on a mission: Mitch McConnell's effort to reshape the courts," 7 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'consequential.' 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 consequential

1626, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for consequential

see consequent entry 1

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Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

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The first known use of consequential was in 1626

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English Language Learners Definition of consequential

: happening as a result


con·se·quen·tial | \ ˌkän-si-ˈkwen-chəl \

Legal Definition of consequential 

: of the nature of an indirect or secondary result

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to make amends

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