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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web

The former is a historic harbor district dotted with small galleries, cute coffeehouses, gritty street art, and hip boutiques. Ashlea Halpern, Condé Nast Traveler, "Three Days In Istanbul," 28 Dec. 2018 The Rosses, with their $1 million condo in the historic Mill District, are joining the move to urban riverfronts sweeping the country. Cecilie Rohwedder, WSJ, "The Latest Housing Hotspot: Downtown and by the River," 6 Dec. 2018 It is said that as Elizabeth departed the lodge, no photographers took a single shot of the historic moment, per Her Majesty's request. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The Heartbreaking Way Queen Elizabeth II Learned About the Death of Her Father, King George VI," 1 Feb. 2019 What do all of these historic internet moments have in common? Alyssa Fiorentino, House Beautiful, "The Internet Cannot Agree On The Answer To This Light Switch Question," 27 July 2018 In addition to reflecting deep mutual distrust, the exchange also served to dampen what many see as President Trump’s overwhelmingly optimistic assessment in the aftermath of his historic summit with Kim on June 12 in Singapore. Tracy Wilkinson, latimes.com, "Pompeo pushes back on North Korea complaints, insists nuclear talks are on track," 8 July 2018 In the days following his historic June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore, President Donald Trump had announced that the return of the remains and the destruction of the missile facility had been completed or were in progress. Andrew Harnik And Matthew Lee, chicagotribune.com, "North Korea says talks with Secretary of State Pompeo were 'regrettable' and 'robber-like'," 7 July 2018 North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) shakes hands with US President Donald Trump (R) at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "Mike Pompeo Giving Kim Jong Un ‘Rocket Man’ CD Signed by Trump, South Korean Paper Reports," 7 July 2018 The home, a four-story Queen Anne Victorian built back in 1889 known as the Kemper-Gunn House, is a historic landmark in Westport. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "There's an Incredible Story Behind Serena & Lily's Flagship Store," 9 Apr. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of historic

1594, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for historic

Last Updated

11 May 2019

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Time Traveler for historic

The first known use of historic was in 1594

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More Definitions for historic



English Language Learners Definition of historic

: famous or important in history
: having great and lasting importance
: happening or existing in the past


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

Kids Definition of historic

: famous in history

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More from Merriam-Webster on historic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with historic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for historic

Spanish Central: Translation of historic

Nglish: Translation of historic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of historic for Arabic Speakers

Comments on historic

What made you want to look up historic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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