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 Most CEOs of large companies get a significant portion of their pay packages in company stock. Stephen Gandel, CBS News, "CEOs are getting paid bonuses like there was no pandemic," 22 Apr. 2021 Over 100 of its staff signed a letter to Politico's publisher alleging that Shapiro's byline demoralized a significant portion of the newsroom. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Politico forbids 'crisis' when describing border surge, despite Biden's own use," 22 Apr. 2021 But with less than a third of Connecticut residents fully vaccinated, according to The New York Times, the virus continues to pose a threat to a significant portion of the population. Emily Brindley,, "Daily coronavirus updates: Connecticut’s hospitalizations, daily positivity rate tick up; metrics overall remain close to flat," 20 Apr. 2021 For all the talk of people refusing the vaccine for ideological reasons, there is in fact a significant portion of the population who want the vaccine and aren’t able to get it. Melody Schreiber, The New Republic, "Bring Covid Vaccines Door to Door," 16 Apr. 2021 Notably, though, the Apple Watch works only with an iPhone, which can alienate a significant portion of potential study participants. Sam Volchenboum, STAT, "Building the perfect wearable for clinical trials," 13 Apr. 2021 The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which oversees the Oscars, derives a significant portion of its revenue from the telecast. Washington Post, "Oscar ratings plunge nearly 60 percent as young people especially appear to tune out," 26 Apr. 2021 Detroit has also been competitive in a significant portion of its games this season, despite the losing record. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, "Why Jerami Grant believes Detroit Pistons can do 'something big' next season," 25 Apr. 2021 State governments and foundations provide another significant portion of legal aid funding, as do court filing fees and attorney fees. NBC News, "More people than ever need legal aid services. But the pandemic has hit legal aid funding hard.," 25 Apr. 2021

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

28 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Significant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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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