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

The picture came after Trump and Kim met face-to-face for a historic first meeting on Tuesday morning in Singapore, late Monday night in the U.S, marking the first time that a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader have met. Ale Russian, PEOPLE.com, "Jim Carrey Creates Controversial Artwork for Trump's Birthday, Showing Boy Urinating on a '45' Grave," 15 June 2018 Eunsuk Mavaffari, a 57-year-old who works at H-Mart, an Asian-American supermarket, and is from South Korea, said of the historic meeting. Leah Brennan, Howard County Times, "Along Ellicott City's Korean Way, mixed views on North Korea summit," 13 June 2018 Here are four key things to know about Mexico’s historic elections: When is the Mexico election? Ciara Nugent, Time, "Your Complete Guide to Mexico's 2018 Elections," 29 June 2018 The fire broke out late Sunday in Eastpoint, which is near the historic town of Apalachicola in Florida’s Panhandle. Gary Fineout, BostonGlobe.com, "Fla. says controlled burn sparked fire that destroyed 36 homes," 27 June 2018 McCARTHY — Twenty years after acquiring the massive ruins of the Kennecott copper mines, the National Park Service has finally figured out a way to preserve the historic company town and tell its story — without banishing all the ghosts. Tom Kizzia, Anchorage Daily News, "Amid the ruins of the Kennecott mine, a quiet new look at a unique slice of history," 26 June 2018 William posed at the same exact spot seen here in this Middleton family photo: In the Middleton family photo taken at the historic site, a young Kate smiles with Michael Middleton and her sister, Pippa. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Prince William Just Recreated One of Kate Middleton's Sweet Childhood Photos in Jordan," 25 June 2018 Polous, a shrimper and oysterman, lost 14 boats, his home and pickup trucks in the quick-moving conflagration Sunday that left behind a trail of ash and ruins in Eastpoint, just across the river from the historic town of Apalachicola. Brendan Farrington And Gary Fineout, Sun-Sentinel.com, "'Controlled' blaze blamed for 36 destroyed homes," 28 June 2018 The fire broke out late Sunday in Eastpoint, which is near the historic town of Apalachicola in Florida's Panhandle. Gary Fineout, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Florida officials say controlled burn sparked fire that destroyed 36 homes," 27 June 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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Phrases Related to historic

historical museum

historical society

Statistics for historic

Last Updated

12 Oct 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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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).


not any or not one

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