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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Synonyms & Antonyms for significant



  • unexpressive
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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 Electric cars have significant protections built in to reduce the chances of electrocution, and there are measures to make sure components do not become contaminated by moisture, but full submersion is a different story. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, "Can I Ask a Really Stupid Question About Electric Vehicles?," 22 May 2020 Officials in Washington and journalists in New York certainly understood how significant these events were at the time. Vincent Bevins, The New York Review of Books, "How ‘Jakarta’ Became the Codeword for US-Backed Mass Killing," 20 May 2020 The drug has the potential to cause significant side effects in some patients and has not been shown to combat the new coronavirus. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump says he’s taking malaria drug to protect against virus, despite FDA warning," 18 May 2020 Given the number of classes lecturers teach, the move could have a significant impact on fall-semester courses. Ron Kroichick,, "Hundreds of UC Berkeley lecturers fear losing jobs," 17 May 2020 In an environmental assessment, the Forest Service said the project would have no significant impact on the area. London Gibson, The Indianapolis Star, "Monroe County sues over Hoosier National Forest project they say threatens their drinking water," 15 May 2020 To avert significant mission impacts, the government would need to undertake unprecedented accelerated testing, modification and integration of new GPS receivers on existing platforms. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "US military is furious at FCC over 5G plan that could interfere with GPS," 8 May 2020 The link between travel and contagion appeared to be significant: When there was more travel, for example around Thanksgiving, more people got influenza; in contrast, when air travel decreased after 9/11, the rate of influenza decreased. Hilda Bastian, Wired, "Social Distancing Has Become the Norm. What Have We Learned?," 8 May 2020 Ultra-wealthy donors are significant, of course, but that wasn’t our focus. Benjamin A. Priday, The Conversation, "Rich folks aren’t that stingy after all," 7 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for significant

Time Traveler

The first known use of significant was in 1579

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Statistics for significant

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Significant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for significant


How to pronounce significant (audio)

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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