his·​tor·​ic hi-ˈstȯr-ik How to pronounce historic (audio)
: historical: such as
: famous or important in history
historic battlefields
: having great and lasting importance
a historic occasion
: known or established in the past
historic interest rates
: dating from or preserved from a past time or culture
historic buildings
historic artifacts

Did you know?

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 What is the name of the group that just ended its historic Hollywood strike? CNN, 28 Sep. 2023 Metro recently increased rail service to historic highs in hopes of luring more people back. Washington Post Staff, Washington Post, 28 Sep. 2023 Between sleigh rides, dog sledding, fat biking, winter fly-fishing, and wandering along a snow-laden historic Main Street, this town has something for everyone. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Travel + Leisure, 28 Sep. 2023 Though the tale of an out-of-town firm swooping in at the last minute to save a historic factory may pull at the heartstrings, Ford says the deal wasn’t only about preserving American-made. Eric Twardzik, Robb Report, 28 Sep. 2023 The gorgeous and historic setting at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, under the shadow of Air Force One and high above the picaresque Santa Susana Mountains, provided poignant reminders of how deeply the party has changed since Reagan left the presidency in 1989. Rick Klein, ABC News, 28 Sep. 2023 By recreating historic living quarters, the museum allows visitors to step inside the lives of 19th- and 20th-century immigrants to New York City. Teresa Nowakowski, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Sep. 2023 The humanitarian is launching her eco-conscious clothing collective from a historic Manhattan property: artist Jean-Michel Basquiat's finale New York City Apartment and Studio. Kimberlee Speakman, Peoplemag, 27 Sep. 2023 The Writers’ Guild of America has announced that beginning at 12:01 AM tonight, the historic Hollywood strike that lasted for 146 days will officially end. Vulture, 26 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'historic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1594, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of historic was in 1594

Dictionary Entries Near historic

Cite this Entry

“Historic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/historic. Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


his·​tor·​ic his-ˈtȯr-ik How to pronounce historic (audio)
: famous in history
historic events

More from Merriam-Webster on historic

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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