his·​tor·​ic | \hi-ˈstȯr-ik, -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

An historic number of women running for the House of Representatives—238! Marie Claire, "With One Week Until Election Day, the Boxers Share Advice and Insight," 30 Oct. 2018 Deller and his colleagues — led by Kunal Mooley, of the NRAO and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena — used a variety of radio telescopes to study the aftermath of the neutron-star collision, a historic event known as GW170817. Mike Wall, Space.com, "Faster Than Light? Neutron-Star Merger Shot Out a Jet with Seemingly Impossible Speed," 5 Sep. 2018 The new venue will be a celebration of the Braemar Gathering, and will provide a place for the display of memorabilia, trophies, and important archives related to the historic event. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Queen Elizabeth Steps out with Prince Charles and Princess Anne for the Braemar Royal Highland Gathering," 1 Sep. 2018 Censorship, information blackouts and outright propaganda are prime tools in the CCP’s arsenal of control, as evidenced in incidents large and small, recent and historic. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Instagram’s verification system is useful, fair, and Twitter should copy it," 29 Aug. 2018 Many of the wrestlers took to social media to share their excitement about the historic event after McMahon's announcement. Andrea Park, Glamour, "WWE Is Hosting Its First-Ever All-Women Pay-Per-View Event—and Fans Are Thrilled," 24 July 2018 Prince Harry and Meghan Markle might have a new royal residence near Windsor Castle: Adelaide Cottage, a charming, historic home. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Inside Adelaide Cottage, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's New Home in Windsor," 23 July 2018 More than 1,000 people are expected at the historic event, which will culminate in the swearing-in of the first African American woman to serve as mayor. Dominic Fracassa, SFChronicle.com, "London Breed’s inauguration as mayor of SF — a who’s who," 11 July 2018 These were donated by her family members as a way of showing current students the simple, yet revealing way a teacher taught about the environment, seasons and historic events. Courant Community, "Community News For The Valley Edition," 10 July 2018

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

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \

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).


to enclose within walls

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