his·​tor·​ic | \ hi-ˈstȯr-ik How to pronounce historic (audio) , -ˈstär- \

Definition of historic

: historical: such as
a : famous or important in history historic battlefields
b : having great and lasting importance a historic occasion
c : known or established in the past historic interest rates
d : dating from or preserved from a past time or culture historic buildings historic artifacts

historic or historical?

Do you experience a slight pause before using either of these words as you try to remember which one is correct and whether it should be preceded by an or a? If so, you’re not alone, for many people find this pair particularly tricky. Historic and historical are both occasionally found preceded by an, since the initial h in each word was formerly left unpronounced. Now this h is heard, and a is far more common than an (by a ratio of about 4 to 1 in American English).

Historic and historical have been used interchangeably by many writers, even in recent years. If you would like to avoid being corrected, however, use historical for matters relating to history (the historical society), and historic to refer to things having great and lasting importance (a historic occasion).

Examples of historic in a Sentence

It's wonderful to see so many people here on this historic occasion. She returned safely from her historic flight into space. The court made a historic decision last week. They know of many historic volcanic eruptions in the area. the historic importance of the river
Recent Examples on the Web The result is that more than 600 churches in Quebec have closed, many of them bulldozed or deconsecrated so that other uses can be found for the historic buildings. Amanda Coletta, Washington Post, 28 July 2022 The Bavarian city of Augsburg, for instance, has dimmed street lighting and switched off the lights on historic buildings such as the town hall, cathedral and museums. Nick Kostov, WSJ, 28 July 2022 At La Grave, a much-loved strip of historic buildings on an isthmus on the southernmost island of Havre-Aubert, broken rock imported from Newfoundland was already being used to fill in the beach. Taras Grescoe, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 July 2022 Historic West Bottoms Head to the West Bottoms for everything from shopping and music to food trucks and historic buildings. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 27 July 2022 The theme is all about Baltimore — from famous Baltimoreans to historic buildings to family stories. Micha Green, Baltimore Sun, 21 July 2022 Enjoy playscapes, a swimming pool, splash pads for the kids, sports fields Dillon Stadium and historic buildings. Kaitlyn Keegan, Hartford Courant, 19 July 2022 The park features a collection of historic buildings, including barracks and block houses; miles of trails and scenic overlooks; plus two visitors centers offering an overview of the conflict. Susan Glaser, cleveland, 14 July 2022 Three red buses wound their way through the Kent countryside before stopping before a gracious manor house, which would soon become known as the Bunce Court School, named for its historic buildings. Deborah Cadbury, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 July 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of historic

1594, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of historic was in 1594

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Last Updated

3 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Historic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/historic. Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for historic


his·​tor·​ic | \ hi-ˈstȯr-ik How to pronounce historic (audio) \

Kids Definition of historic

: famous in history

More from Merriam-Webster on historic

Nglish: Translation of historic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of historic for Arabic Speakers


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