his·​tor·​i·​cal | \ hi-ˈstȯr-i-kəl How to pronounce historical (audio) , -ˈstär- \

Definition of historical

1a : of, relating to, or having the character of history historical data
b : based on history historical novels
c : used in the past and reproduced in historical presentations
2 : famous in history : historic sense a
b : diachronic historical grammar

Other Words from historical

historicalness \ hi-​ˈstȯr-​i-​kəl-​nəs How to pronounce historical (audio) , -​ˈstär-​ \ noun

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 historical in a Sentence

He strove for historical accuracy in the movie. The kings are listed in historical order.
Recent Examples on the Web The study, published Tuesday in Frontier Earth Science, looked at historical data of tropical cyclones that hit East and Southeast Asian regions from 1979 to 2016. Michelle Shen, USA TODAY, 30 Nov. 2021 Last year, the department released its DoD Climate Assessment Tool to better comprehend the hazards of climate change based on historical data and future assessments. Oren Liebermann, CNN, 20 Nov. 2021 Based on its analysis of historical pricing data, booking travel app Hopper found that the Tuesday following Thanksgiving has consistently offered the most significant volume of deals that week. NBC News, 17 Nov. 2021 Still, historical data indicate Indiana’s rate may be even higher. IndyStar, 16 Nov. 2021 Still, historical data indicate Indiana’s rate may be even higher. Alvie Lindsay, The Indianapolis Star, 13 Nov. 2021 Per the Trefis machine learning engine which analyzes historical stock price movements, DASH stock only has a 46% chance of a rise over the next month (21 trading days). Trefis Team, Forbes, 12 Nov. 2021 The longest units in her class focus on historical movements: the civil rights movement, Chicanx and farmworkers, women and the LGBTQ rights movement. Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov. 2021 Those algorithms are often trained on historical data that may not provide good insight into future price movements. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 3 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'historical.' 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 historical

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of historical was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near historical



historical cost

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Last Updated

2 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Historical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/historical. Accessed 2 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for historical



English Language Learners Definition of historical

: of or relating to history
: based on history
: arranged in the order that things happened or came to be : chronological


his·​tor·​i·​cal | \ hi-ˈstȯr-i-kəl How to pronounce historical (audio) \

Kids Definition of historical

1 : relating to or based on history historical writings
2 : known to be true historical fact

Other Words from historical

historically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on historical

Nglish: Translation of historical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of historical for Arabic Speakers


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