his·​tor·​ic | \ hi-ˈstȯr-ik How to pronounce historic (audio) , -ˈstär- \

Definition of historic

: 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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web Billiter goes back and forth between the two aesthetic worlds, one that is historic and formal, in dark colors and gold, the other that is modern and delightful. Jeff Suess, The Enquirer, 24 Nov. 2021 The group urged City Council members to prioritize historic preservation in future developments across the city. Dana Afana, Detroit Free Press, 23 Nov. 2021 Ebersole joined Tim Askin, a city historic preservation planner, in opposing the removal of the windows. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 18 Nov. 2021 The last indictment three decades ago was less historic: A federal environmental official under President Ronald Reagan failed to heed a House subpoena. Farnoush Amiri, ajc, 15 Nov. 2021 The code includes regulations on matters such as zoning, rentals, protecting natural resources and historic preservation. Elena Bruess, San Antonio Express-News, 13 Nov. 2021 In 2009, descendants of both Plessy and Ferguson — Keith Plessy and Phoebe Ferguson — teamed up to found the Plessy And Ferguson Foundation, a civil rights organization that focuses on education and historic preservation. Carlie Porterfield, Forbes, 12 Nov. 2021 On hand were a crew of 25 art conservators, art movers, welders and heavy equipment operators working under ARG Conservation Services, a San Francisco firm that specializes in historic preservation. Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 Nov. 2021 The incoming Salt Lake City Council is historic — in multiple ways. Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune, 5 Nov. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of historic

1594, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for historic

Time Traveler

The first known use of historic was in 1594

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Statistics for historic

Last Updated

1 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Historic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/historic. Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for historic



English Language Learners Definition of historic

: famous or important in history
: having great and lasting importance
: happening or existing in the past


his·​tor·​ic | \ hi-ˈstȯr-ik How to pronounce historic (audio) \

Kids Definition of historic

: famous in history

More from Merriam-Webster on historic

Nglish: Translation of historic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of historic for Arabic Speakers


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