historic

adjective

his·​tor·​ic hi-ˈstȯr-ik How to pronounce historic (audio)
-ˈstär-
: historical: such as
a
: famous or important in history
historic battlefields
b
: having great and lasting importance
a historic occasion
c
: known or established in the past
historic interest rates
d
: 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).

Example Sentences

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 Scheduled for 2024, Artemis II would then be followed by an even more complex and historic mission, Artemis III, which would at last return humans to the lunar surface for the first time since 1972. Nadia Drake, Scientific American, 16 Nov. 2022 Starr, 21, landed six triple jumps in her free skate program at Skate Canada last month, earning a second-place finish that was exhilarating and historic. Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 2022 With no winner on Saturday, the Powerball jackpot has reached a historic – and stratospheric – level. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, 7 Nov. 2022 This was the rationale behind the historic and bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act that President Biden signed in August. Darío Gil, Fortune, 7 Nov. 2022 The record-breaking Powerball jackpot continues to climb to historic numbers ahead of the next drawing Monday night, as there have not yet been no grand prize winners. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 7 Nov. 2022 From this tiny, hot and overcrowded island, some 1,200 indigenous Guna people will soon embark on a short but historic exodus. José De Córdoba, WSJ, 5 Nov. 2022 Her swearing-in ceremony was a symbolic and historic moment for the South County community, where more than 60 percent of the population is Latino. San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Nov. 2022 The Hot 100 record is more historic — and very literally unbeatable — but the album units are more impressive. Katie Atkinson, Billboard, 1 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'historic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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. 2022.

Kids Definition

historic

adjective

his·​tor·​ic his-ˈtȯr-ik How to pronounce historic (audio)
-ˈtär-
1
2
: famous in history
historic events

More from Merriam-Webster on historic

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ