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

All the original actresses are said to be receiving significant pay bumps, as well. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "'Big Little Lies' Season 2: Everything We Know So Far," 3 Jan. 2019 The most significant decision, however, will be the new CEO. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "How CBS Can Right the Ship in 2019," 31 Dec. 2018 When the Apple Watch Series 4 was announced this past September, the most significant new hardware feature besides the larger screen was probably the ability to take an ECG directly on the watch. Dieter Bohn, The Verge, "Apple Watch electrocardiogram and irregular heart rate features are available today," 6 Dec. 2018 This much land so close to the base of the ski area makes the listing one of the most significant properties currently on the market in ski country. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Historic ski chalet on last large parcel in Squaw Valley asks $15M," 11 Dec. 2018 The company has since touted significant numbers for its platform overall, including nearly 2 billion monthly logged-in users and 450 hours of content uploaded every minute. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "YouTube is offering discounted Premium, Music subscriptions to students," 27 Nov. 2018 And one of the most significant and important truths right now is also that the vast majority of us have so much more in common than what separates us. Glamour, "Glamour Woman of the Year Kamala Harris: Own the Truth in the Face of Those Who Are Trying to Divide Us," 12 Nov. 2018 Saarinen's pedestal collection was an instant hit, and is regarded as one of the most significant furniture designs of the 20th century. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "What Exactly Is a Tulip Table?," 1 Nov. 2018 The story of one successful entrepreneur is especially significant because his decline was well documented. Linda Marsa, Discover Magazine, "A New Treatment for Alzheimer's? It Starts With Lifestyle," 16 Nov. 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

6 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for significant

The first known use of significant was in 1579

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More Definitions for significant



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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