Alternative formsEdit


From Latin historicus ‎(historical), from Ancient Greek ἱστορικός ‎(historikós, exact; historical).[1] Cognate with French historique.



historic ‎(comparative more historic, superlative most historic)

  1. Very important, very noteworthy: having importance or significance in history.
    A historic opportunity
    July 4, 1776, is an historic date. A great deal of historical research has been done on the events leading up to that day.
    The historical works of Lord Macaulay and Edward Gibbon are in and of themselves historic.
  2. Old-fashioned, untouched by modernity.
    • 1756 August, Horace Walpole, letter republished in Private Correspondence (1820), Vol. II, No. 1:
      Sights are thick sown in the counties of York and Nottingham: the former is more historic.
  3. (now uncommon) Alternative term for historical: of, concerning, or in accordance with recorded history or the past generally (See usage notes.)
    • 1594, John Dickenson, Arisbas, Euphues amidst his slumbers; or, Cupids iourney to hell:
      An high-pac'd Muse treading a lofty march, leades honor enchaind in an Epique pen, grac'd with the furtherance of historique Clio.
  4. (grammar) Various grammatical tenses and moods specially used in retelling past events.
    The historic tenses include the imperfect, the pluperfect, and the future perfect.

Usage notesEdit

  • Like many terms that start with a non-silent h but have emphasis on their second syllable, some people precede historic with an, others with a.
  • Historic and historical are variants of one another and have shared the same meaning (related to history) for much of their history. In present usage, however, a distinction is often made between the two: historic is used as an adjective for the study of history, while historical is used as an adjective for the events of the past. As such, historic is used to describe people, things, and events that are or will be considered important by future historians, while historical is used for people, things, and events in the past, whether important or not. A "historic event" is an important moment past, present, or in the future; a "historical event" is some moment in the past.



Derived termsEdit



historic ‎(plural historics)

  1. (obsolete) A history, a non-fiction account of the past.
    • 1566, William Painter, The Palace of Pleasure Beautified, Vol. I, Ch. XI:
      Before the beginnyng of this historic, I haue thought good by waie of a Proeme, to introduce the wordes of an excellent writer called Lodouicus Caelius Rhodoginus.
  2. (obsolete) A historian.



  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd ed. "historic, n. and adj." Oxford University Press (Oxford), 2012.
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