historic

adjective
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

By all measures, the former Georgia House minority leader’s run for the Georgia governorship as the first African American female nominee by a major party was historic. Brittney Cooper, Marie Claire, "Stacey Abrams Is Just Getting Started," 11 Mar. 2019 The inefficient, aging building needed air conditioning units in the summer and heaters in the winter, and due to its location in an historic district, pinpoint accuracy in its retrofits to meet existing building codes. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Can a remodeled 1920s home revolutionize green building?," 3 Dec. 2018 While the Galápagos islands are historic for being the site of Charles Darwin's discoveries about evolution, other visitors have been less helpful. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Drones Are Dropping Poison on Rats in the Galápagos," 24 Jan. 2019 BuzzFeed News was the first to point out just how historic this was: Ariana is one of only four singers to headline the huge event (Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Bjork are the only other three) and the youngest female artist to have this honor. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Why Ariana Grande Will Make History at Coachella This Year," 3 Jan. 2019 In fact, all three metrics—the total number, rate, and ratio of abortions (the amount of abortions there are compared to live births)—reached historic lows for the study period (2006-2015). Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Birth Control Helped Us Reach Historically Low Abortion Rates, But the Trump Administration Could Change That," 30 Nov. 2018 Air travel will be historic, according to NBC News: The 12-day Thanksgiving air travel period is already under way, and trade organization Airlines for America predicts a record 30.6 million passengers will fly on U.S. airlines. James Freeman, WSJ, "Prosperity and its Temporary Side Effects," 19 Nov. 2018 Mickie Subia’s single-story home in the historic, downtown Chihuahuita neighborhood is steps from the barrier, providing glimpses of Mexico through fencing and metal slats. Will Weissert, The Seattle Times, "El Paso bristles at Trump’s claim that wall made city safe," 11 Feb. 2019 Built in partnership with Castle Homes, the 6,000-square-foot house will be built in the English Arts and Crafts style in the historic Belle Meade neighborhood. House Beautiful, "The 2019 Whole Home Is Coming To Nashville," 30 Jan. 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

16 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for historic

The first known use of historic was in 1594

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More Definitions for historic

historic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of historic

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

historic

adjective
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

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