sig·​nif·​i·​cant | \sig-ˈni-fi-kənt \

Definition of significant 

1 : having meaning especially : suggestive a significant glance

2a : having or likely to have influence or effect : important a significant piece of legislation also : of a noticeably or measurably large amount a significant number of layoffs producing significant profits

b : probably caused by something other than mere chance statistically significant correlation between vitamin deficiency and disease

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Examples of significant in a Sentence

Historians of ancient gender have seen this as crucially significant. Women in antiquity were by definition so disempowered that the authority of a new female ruler could only be captured by representing her in the guise of a man. Or so the argument goes. — Mary Beard, New York Review of Books, 12 Feb. 2009 While Congress will take a significant role in designing new regulation and is not likely to rubber-stamp the administration's proposals, momentum is strong for the creation of comprehensive financial reform. — Marc I. Seltzer et al., Commonweal, 19 June 2009 A new study on women and the media from the University of Missouri-Columbia shows that overweight women and women with eating disorders are not the only ones negatively affected by unrealistic advertisements (as previous studies have indicated). After viewing images of models, women of all sizes reported a significant decrease in satisfaction with their weight, hair, physical shape and sexual attractiveness. Ms., Summer 2007 One of [Charles] Darwin's most extraordinary qualities was his ability to recognize when a scientific question could not be answered because of the limitations of the science of his day. He knew, for instance, that during his lifetime, no significant progress would be made on the question of how life began. — Amy Stewart, Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2004 A significant number of customers complained about the service. He won a significant amount of money. There is a significant difference in prices between the two stores. The study found a statistically significant decrease in symptoms in patients who had taken the drug. a significant event in the history of our nation Fish is a significant part of their diet. It is significant that she never mentioned him. He gave us a significant wink.
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Recent Examples on the Web

And remember - always talk to your doctor before making any significant changes in your daily eating. Madelyn Fernstrom, NBC News, "Health Matters: Is a "detox diet" good or bad for your health?," 13 July 2018 Sauropods, which include dinosaurs like the brachiosaurus, underwent several significant changes in their anatomy, gaining longer necks, four thick legs and smaller heads, with some weighing as much as 70 tons. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Fossil of first giant dinosaur, dubbed Ingentia prima, found in Argentina," 11 July 2018 With constantly rising land values, even today’s new homes will be tomorrow’s teardowns without significant changes to how the city thinks about zoning and density. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How teardowns hurt housing affordability, and how to fix it," 11 July 2018 And until executives like Saunders — the people who have the power to make sweeping, significant changes — acknowledge that, the sport will only continue to depreciate in the greater American sports landscape. Brendan Marks, charlotteobserver, "Blaming NASCAR's young drivers for attendance issues just a sign of a greater problem," 6 July 2018 The court’s most recent significant ruling on the subject endorsed colleges’ use of race among many factors in the admission process. Eric Tucker, The Seattle Times, "US to stop encouraging race as factor in school admissions," 3 July 2018 But perhaps most significant was their decision to not take a stance on Zionism, BDS, or the number of states that should exist in a final status agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Abraham Riesman, Daily Intelligencer, "Can the young activists of IfNotNow change the conversation about Israel and the Palestinians, or will their contradictions hold them back?," 12 July 2018 The most significant came in June, when Billboard reported that Spotify had been offering direct deals to managers and artists to license their music directly to the service, which irked indie labels in particular. Dan Rys, Billboard, "Spotify's Artist Platform Runs Op-Ed On Reasons Not to Sign to Record Labels," 6 July 2018 Both attempts have been viewed as the most significant to try and roll back legalized prostitution in Nevada. David Montero,, "Effort to close brothels in one Nevada county fails to get enough signatures for ballot," 3 July 2018

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

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for significant

Latin significant-, significans, present participle of significare to signify

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Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for significant

The first known use of significant was in 1579

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English Language Learners Definition of significant

: large enough to be noticed or have an effect

: very important

: having a special or hidden meaning


sig·​nif·​i·​cant | \sig-ˈni-fi-kənt \

Kids Definition of significant

1 : having a special or hidden meaning The teacher gave them a significant smile.

2 : important sense 1 These changes are significant.

3 : large enough to be noticed He donated a significant amount of money.


sig·​nif·​i·​cant | \sig-ˈnif-i-kənt \

Medical Definition of significant 

: probably caused by something other than mere chance a statistically significant correlation between diet and disease

Other Words from significant

significantly adverb

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Comments on significant

What made you want to look up significant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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