historical

adjective
his·​tor·​i·​cal | \ hi-ˈstȯr-i-kəl How to pronounce historical (audio) , -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
b : diachronic historical grammar

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Other Words from historical

historicalness \ hi-​ˈstȯr-​i-​kəl-​nəs How to pronounce historicalness (audio) , -​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

As Jake Offenhartz reported for Gothamist in 2017, there are approximately 145 statues of historical male figures that stand in New York’s five boroughs. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "New York Is Building a New Monument to Women’s History—And It Wants the Public’s Help," 21 June 2018 But cultural and historical values were for the most part set aside in the growth rush. Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times, "With the Showbox, we’re all NIMBYs now," 15 Aug. 2018 The line is sophisticated, but has a uncontrived spirit that plays on masculine, feminine, and historical references. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Miu Miu's Fall '19 Show Is Almost Here, and You Can Stream It Live," 5 Mar. 2019 The lack of accurate historical data suggested many potential pollutants went unnoticed. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Booming postindustrial neighborhoods often overlook polluted past," 9 Oct. 2018 The application for historical status is scheduled to be reviewed by the California Historical Resources Commission on Aug. 3. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Garden advocate wants Ramona Street completion off priority list," 11 July 2018 Daphne said about the house, constructed in the 1870s and currently under consideration for a historical designation from the Philadelphia Historical Commission. Terri Akman, Philly.com, "1870s West Philly home blends Victorian history with today's style," 26 June 2018 However well written, how can its conclusions not be overtaken by another 250 years of anthropological and historical research? Mary Ann Gwinn, The Seattle Times, "‘1,000 Books to Read Before You Die’ author James Mustich on what did (and didn’t) make the cut," 26 Oct. 2018 But that script concentrated on very elaborately representing the politics and the actual, [historical] story in minute detail. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "The Favourite director Yorgos Lanthimos on why his films aren’t as mean as people say," 21 Nov. 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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Statistics for historical

Last Updated

14 Apr 2019

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

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More Definitions for historical

historical

adjective

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

historical

adjective
his·​tor·​i·​cal | \ hi-ˈstȯr-i-kəl How to pronounce historical (audio) \

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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Comments on historical

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