his·tor·i·cal | \ hi-ˈstȯr-i-kəl , -ˈstär- \

Definition of historical 

1a : of, relating to, or having the character of history historical data

b : based on history historical novels

c : used in the past and reproduced in historical presentations

2 : famous in history : historic sense a

3a : secondary sense 1c

b : diachronic historical grammar

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Other words from historical

historicalness \hi-ˈstȯr-i-kəl-nəs, -ˈstär- \ noun

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 historical in a Sentence

He strove for historical accuracy in the movie. The kings are listed in historical order.

Recent Examples on the Web

Michelangelo's iconic artwork isn't the only historical reference in the video. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande's "God Is a Woman" Music Video Is Full of Vagina References," 13 July 2018 Gina Adams, a Native-American artist based in Kansas, takes antique quilts and overlays them with texts from actual historical treaties – mostly broken. George Fishman, miamiherald, "Monarchs ‘Brown and Native’ butterfly exhibit a response to contemporary events," 13 July 2018 While the service's main message covers historical aspect of various significant tragedies that befell the Jewish people on that particular time in history, Boxman noted that the second part of it will deal with these events' relevance today. Sergio Carmona, Jewish Journal, "Temples plan observances of Tisha B'Av, saddest day in Jewish history," 13 July 2018 Then why does the historical society have no exhibit about the late, infamous racist Sheriff Willis McCall? Lauren Ritchie, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Statue of Confederate general is no 'piece of art,' has no place in Lake County museum," 1 July 2018 Who to meet Charlotte’s newest mermaid: Last week, painter Sharon Dowell wrapped up a 10- by 90-foot mural featuring a mermaid of Mexican heritage with tattoos that represent historical and current businesses in the South End district. charlotteobserver, "What’s up this week in Charlotte’s visual arts?," 10 July 2018 Mashup self-portraits by Tim Hawkinson have likewise been exhibited before at the gallery and in this context take on a new toxicity: historical, literary and biological. Charles Desmarais, SFChronicle.com, "Summer exhibition at Hosfelt Gallery a monstrous affair," 6 July 2018 Here’s what to know about the real people and historical events that inspired the movie. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "The True Story Behind Woman Walks Ahead," 29 June 2018 To qualify for nomination, historical events must have happened at least 20 years ago, according to She Built NYC guidelines. Rebecca Bratek, CBS News, ""Where are all the women?": New York City to commission statues honoring trailblazing women," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'historical.' 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 historical

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Phrases Related to historical

historical museum

historical society

Statistics for historical

Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for historical

The first known use of historical was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for historical



English Language Learners Definition of historical

: of or relating to history

: based on history

: arranged in the order that things happened or came to be


his·tor·i·cal | \ hi-ˈstȯr-i-kəl \

Kids Definition of historical

1 : relating to or based on history historical writings

2 : known to be true historical fact

Other words from historical

historically adverb

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