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

The language and constructions of self-identification have not always been the same; how did the person see themselves and their desires, is a constant question when considering historical queers. Jeanna Kadlec, Longreads, "The 19th Century Lesbian Made for 21st Century Consumption," 7 June 2019 Another artist who overtly acknowledges art-historical subject matter is Mary Jo Tydlacka. Mike Giuliano, baltimoresun.com, "Resident artists in spotlight at Howard County Arts Council show," 6 June 2019 Summer Solstice: Jared Day is back to present a lecture on the summer solstice on Friday, June 14, at 1 p.m. This lecture examines the historical significance of the summer solstice in European history and culture. courant.com, "Community News For The South Windsor Edition," 6 June 2019 Mahut started his professional tennis career in 2000 and is known for playing in an historical match against John Isner at Wimbledon in 2010. Ashley Boucher, PEOPLE.com, "French Tennis Star Nicolas Mahut's Son Runs Onto Court to Console Him After French Open Loss," 5 June 2019 The exhibition probes the historical roots of manga, with nods to Katsushika Hokusai, a famous artist and printmaker. L.m., The Economist, "A magnificent exhibition of manga at the British Museum," 5 June 2019 There are no historical documents about the Scottsdale complex online under Maricopa County property records. Jen Fifield, azcentral, "A bird's-eye view of these Glendale medical offices reveal resemblance to swastikas," 4 June 2019 In an impassioned style reminiscent of her best-selling historical novels, Johnston made the case for female equality and laid out counterarguments for some of the common criticisms of the movement. Annika Neklason, The Atlantic, "How The Atlantic Covered the Fight for Women’s Suffrage," 4 June 2019 This was the first significant cluttering of iTunes, but also should be seen as a historical milestone. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "iTunes Is Dead. Let's Pay Our Respects," 3 June 2019

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

9 Jun 2019

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

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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 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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