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 Weber House, Hoffman Haus complex, 601 E. San Antonio, Fredericksburg, Texas; (830) 997-6739. Enchanting historic house upgraded with modern amenities, including a soaking tub, full kitchen and screened-in back porch. Barbara Noe Kennedy, Los Angeles Times, "In Fredericksburg, Texas, staying in tiny houses brings big pleasures," 14 Sep. 2019 All four lines within the CBD Collection are part of a collaboration between Yield and The Black Dahlia, an organization devoted to preserving the historic Sowden House—rumored site of the Black Dahlia murder in Los Angeles. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "You Can Now Buy CBD Oil-Infused Candles," 13 Sep. 2019 Baghdad’s city government reportedly tore down a historic house in 2016 to build a shopping mall. Peter Schwartzstein, Smithsonian, "What the Restoration of Iraq’s Oldest University Says About the Nation’s Future," 4 Sep. 2019 Pat Romero, who rents out the second story of her historic 1885 house, sees both sides. Saja Hindi, The Denver Post, "Some Denver short-term rental owners are giving up their licenses, rather than risk criminal charges," 4 Sep. 2019 Most of the work is three-dimensional, although Kyle Bauer’s wood constructions are upstaged by his elegant block prints of architectural details from historic Louisiana houses. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: If creative ceramics are your cup of tea, go to the Renwick Gallery," 3 Sep. 2019 The historic house, built in 1927, is located on 17.5 acres between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, according to the Palm Beach Post. CBS News, "Dorian expected to be "extremely dangerous" as it heads for U.S. — live updates," 31 Aug. 2019 An old Lutheran church, two historic houses, a 1900s school house, 1930s jail, and the office of Dr. William Ehrhardt stocked with old medical equipment are among many pieces of local history preserved at Tomball Museum Center. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "Museum tackles termites, tree roots to preserve more than a century of Tomball history," 29 Aug. 2019 Perry Lang’s, which is tentatively slated to open in late September, will be housed in Yountville’s historic Groezinger Estate House. Justin Phillips, SFChronicle.com, "Celebrated barbecue restaurant opening outpost in Yountville," 27 Aug. 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

26 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for historic

The first known use of historic was in 1594

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More Definitions for historic


How to pronounce historic (audio)

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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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 being in agreement or harmony

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