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Supposedly vs. Supposably


[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 significances
Historical Examples
  • As tints, so significances, more delicate shall be won by man's soul in contact with nature.

    Nature Mysticism J. Edward Mercer
  • If we can just get that word and its significances over to the women in this town!

    Selina George Madden Martin
  • He was quick and alert in the things of life, but only in the things, and not in the significances.

    Lost Face Jack London
  • The significances which it is meant that clothes should bear are still most numerous and important.

    The Heritage of Dress Wilfred Mark Webb
  • My word, as an exclamation with a thousand significances, could have arrived from nowhere else than Old England.

  • The Spirit goes to the depth of Numbers, possesses a full sense of them, knows their significances.

    Seraphita Honore de Balzac
  • Perhaps there were ages in which that perfume had significances more definite and special than any which we can now attach to it.

British Dictionary definitions for significances


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 significances



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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