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

Other Words from historical

historicalness \ hi-​ˈstȯr-​i-​kəl-​nəs How to pronounce historical (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 Regardless of stats and pace, Judge’s power display of 12 homers in 14 games was historical. Larry Fleisher, Forbes, 1 Aug. 2022 The basketball team is scheduled to visit many of Israel’s historical and tourist sites, such as the Western Wall and the Dead Sea and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum. al, 28 July 2022 While there is no shortage of frontline footage of arrests and protestors clashing with police, most of the running time is dedicated to placing recent events in historical and deeply personal contexts. Richard Kuipers, Variety, 27 July 2022 The church also has published essays on a range of thorny historical and doctrinal issues from polygamy and race to its belief in Heavenly Mother and humanity’s godlike potential. Kaitlyn Bancroft, The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 July 2022 Their pursuit and its meaning gives the banner historical and cultural value. Alamin Yohannes, EW.com, 15 July 2022 The war in Ukraine has even shaken up Bastille Day, a powerful political, historical, and symbolic event in France. Jade Le Deley, BostonGlobe.com, 14 July 2022 For a city with fewer than 100,000 residents, Avignon has an incredible abundance of both historical and cultural attractions. Joe Minihane, CNN, 13 July 2022 Such historical and cultural treasures can be lost again to wars, pillaging and theft. Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 July 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of historical

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

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Time Traveler for historical

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

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Dictionary Entries Near historical



historical cost

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Statistics for historical

Last Updated

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Historical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/historical. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for historical


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

More from Merriam-Webster on historical

Nglish: Translation of historical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of historical for Arabic Speakers


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