sig·​nif·​i·​cant sig-ˈni-fi-kənt How to pronounce significant (audio)
: having meaning
especially : suggestive
a significant glance
: 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
: probably caused by something other than mere chance
statistically significant correlation between vitamin deficiency and disease

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Airports spanning much of the eastern U.S. including those in states such as Florida, New York and Massachusetts were reporting significant delays. Anthony Robledo, USA TODAY, 11 Apr. 2024 In western Rakhine state, the Arakan Army has recently seized major towns and is gaining significant ground against junta forces. Helen Regan, CNN, 11 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for significant 

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

Word History


Latin significant-, significans, present participle of significare to signify

First Known Use

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of significant was in 1579

Dictionary Entries Near significant

Cite this Entry

“Significant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


sig·​nif·​i·​cant sig-ˈnif-i-kənt How to pronounce significant (audio)
: having much importance
: probably caused by something other than chance
a statistically significant relationship between vitamin deficiency and disease
: having meaning and especially a hidden or special meaning
gave us a significant wink
significantly adverb

from Latin significant-, significans, present participle of significare "to signify, indicate," from signum "mark, sign, image" — related to sign

Medical Definition


sig·​nif·​i·​cant sig-ˈnif-i-kənt How to pronounce significant (audio)
: probably caused by something other than mere chance
a statistically significant correlation between diet and disease
significantly adverb

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