9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[sig-nif-i-kuh ns] /sɪgˈnɪf ɪ kəns/
importance; consequence:
the significance of the new treaty.
meaning; import:
The familiar place had a new significance for her.
the quality of being significant or having a meaning:
to give significance to dull chores.
Origin of significance
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English (< Middle French) < Latin significantia force, meaning, equivalent to significant- (see significant) + -ia -ia; see -ance
Related forms
nonsignificance, noun
self-significance, noun
1. moment, weight. See importance. 2. See meaning.
1. triviality. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for significance
  • Given the importance the administration had attached to this matter, this would have seemed news of the utmost significance.
  • Giving chocolate as a gift takes on new significance when it comes from your own kitchen.
  • In the coming months, commentators around the world would look back at this moment and debate its significance.
  • The past or the significance of the episode isn't relevant.
  • Despite the new vents' significance, however, they may not be unique.
  • Instant psychic ability, with built in statistical significance.
  • The anonymity of the work embodied in our ancient cathedrals is a parallel to this, and neither fact is without its significance.
  • On the other hand, he was prone to exaggerate technical blemishes and to underestimate ethical and philosophical significance.
  • If it has a modern air, it is because the words used are of universal significance, and belong neither to this age nor to that.
  • But not all simple ideas carry with them the same significance for reality.
British Dictionary definitions for significance


consequence or importance
something signified, expressed, or intended
the state or quality of being significant
  1. a measure of the confidence that can be placed in a result, esp a substantive causal hypothesis, as not being merely a matter of chance
  2. (as modifier): a significance level Compare confidence level See also hypothesis testing
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for significance

c.1400, "meaning," from Old French significance or directly from Latin significantia "meaning, force, energy," from significans, present participle of significare "to mean, import, signify" (see signify). The earlier word was signifiance (mid-13c.). Meaning "importance" is from 1725. Related: Significancy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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