his·​tor·​ic hi-ˈstȯr-ik How to pronounce historic (audio)
: historical: such as
: famous or important in history
historic battlefields
: having great and lasting importance
a historic occasion
: known or established in the past
historic interest rates
: dating from or preserved from a past time or culture
historic buildings
historic artifacts

Did you know?

historic or historical?

Do you experience a slight pause before using either of these words as you try to remember which one is correct and whether it should be preceded by an or a? If so, you’re not alone, for many people find this pair particularly tricky. Historic and historical are both occasionally found preceded by an, since the initial h in each word was formerly left unpronounced. Now this h is heard, and a is far more common than an (by a ratio of about 4 to 1 in American English).

Historic and historical have been used interchangeably by many writers, even in recent years. If you would like to avoid being corrected, however, use historical for matters relating to history (the historical society), and historic to refer to things having great and lasting importance (a historic occasion).

Examples of historic in a Sentence

It's wonderful to see so many people here on this historic occasion. She returned safely from her historic flight into space. The court made a historic decision last week. They know of many historic volcanic eruptions in the area. the historic importance of the river
Recent Examples on the Web Johnson's financial plan was his first major test as speaker since he was elected last month after McCarthy's historic ouster. Mariam Khan, ABC News, 15 Nov. 2023 Villa Collina, a Mediterranean Revival masterpiece nestled in the hills of Los Feliz in the shadow of Griffith Observatory, has a historic Hollywood pedigree stretching back almost a century. Hadley Meares, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Nov. 2023 Founded in 1989, APEC was created to promote free and fair trade as China began its historic economic opening under Deng Xiaoping. Thomas Black, Fortune, 15 Nov. 2023 In the historic capital Jamestown, the Mantis St. Helena remains the smartest hotel on the island. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, 15 Nov. 2023 Industry analysts say the historic verdict could prompt changes in how real-estate agents are paid and eventually push commissions down. Nicole Friedman, WSJ, 15 Nov. 2023 Advertisement The now historic images of that horrific day were captured by snapshots and home movie camera footage taken by people in the crowd, including the 26-second 8mm film shot by Dallas clothier Abraham Zapruder. Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 2023 This is where locals, stylish crowds and travelers will gather, in the historic Black neighborhood of Overtown, Miami’s Harlem, where people are truly grateful to eat Samuelsson’s unique version of comfort food. Dwight Brown, Essence, 13 Nov. 2023 Explore Natchez National Historical Park, dine at The Camp, and consider driving part of the Natchez Trace Parkway, a historic route that ends in Middle Tennessee. Katy Spratte Joyce, Travel + Leisure, 12 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'historic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1594, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of historic was in 1594

Dictionary Entries Near historic

Cite this Entry

“Historic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/historic. Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


his·​tor·​ic his-ˈtȯr-ik How to pronounce historic (audio)
: famous in history
historic events

More from Merriam-Webster on historic

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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