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 These communities are also less likely to have historic investment in green space, trees and parks that help to clean up that air pollution. London Gibson, The Indianapolis Star, 2 June 2021 The taller building is nearly three times the maximum height allowed by city code -- 70 feet -- and both proposals would surpass the city’s current record holder, the historic Tower East at 162 feet. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, 1 June 2021 Apples also conveniently make one of France’s historic and now underserved spirits: Calvados. Kate Dingwall, Forbes, 1 June 2021 Since then, Schieve’s Twitter account has bounced between the ordinary affairs of running a small city—mental health initiatives, historic preservation, teacher appreciation—and, on occasion, promoting Link. Gregory Barber, Wired, 1 June 2021 The custodians of the historic Alden House in Duxbury have launched a $2.3 million fund-raising campaign to turn the barn into a new visitor education center focused on virtual programming. BostonGlobe.com, 1 June 2021 The city took down the statue in December 2017 after selling the public park to a nonprofit group, thus circumventing a state law barring the removal of historic monuments from public areas. Adrian Sainz, Star Tribune, 1 June 2021 Riders will travel through historic downtown and elsewhere. Arkansas Online, 1 June 2021 The Supreme Court is considering two provisions of Arizona law that the Democratic National Committee says violate the historic Voting Rights Act that prohibits laws that result in racial discrimination. Ariane De Vogue, CNN, 1 June 2021

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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Learn More about historic

Time Traveler for historic

Time Traveler

The first known use of historic was in 1594

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Statistics for historic

Last Updated

4 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Historic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/historic. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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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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