sig·​nif·​i·​cant | \ sig-ˈni-fi-kənt How to pronounce significant (audio) \

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

California’s new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, is significant because federal courts have historically held that hair is a characteristic that can be changed, meaning there’s no basis for discrimination complaints based on hairstyle. Washington Post, "California becomes 1st state to ban hairstyle discrimination," 5 July 2019 The harm to the Swiss stockmarket could be significant, says Charlotte de Montpellier, an economist with ING, a big Dutch bank. The Economist, "Swiss stocks are collateral damage in a worsening trade row," 5 July 2019 The confusion of climate change with global warming speaks to just how significant rising global temperatures are to our understanding of climate change. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "June 2019 Was the Hottest June That Climate Scientists Have Ever Recorded," 3 July 2019 But the company kept a big office in San Diego — and that fact is increasingly significant as time goes on. Brittany Meiling, San Diego Union-Tribune, "How $52B software giant ServiceNow is seeding San Diego’s startup scene," 3 July 2019 Aside from University of Louisville gear, the basement also holds pieces that are very significant to Bryan, who’s an Iraq war veteran. Lennie Omalza, The Courier-Journal, "Farmhouse-style Fisherville ranch boasts outdoor space and pool that will make you swoon," 3 July 2019 The million-dollar revenue stream is especially significant, considering how quickly the figure was reached; Opera Orlando has only existed in its current form for four years. Matthew J. Palm,, "Opera Orlando commissions work, heads to Cheyenne Saloon as revenue tops $1 million," 1 July 2019 People may be acutely attuned to subtle changes in their bodies, such as increased pain or fatigue, that end up being significant but may be hard for doctors to detect. Judith Graham, The Denver Post, "Why many older adults feel good about their health," 1 July 2019 Craig is also shown getting out of the car and walking away, in no apparent discomfort, which is significant given his recent travails. Clark Collis,, "See Daniel Craig drive 007's Aston Martin on Bond 25 set," 30 June 2019

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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Statistics for significant

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce significant (audio) \

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 How to pronounce significant (audio) \

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

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