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[sig-nif-i-kuh nt] /sɪgˈnɪf ɪ kənt/
important; of consequence.
having or expressing a meaning; indicative; suggestive:
a significant wink.
Statistics. of or relating to observations that are unlikely to occur by chance and that therefore indicate a systematic cause.
something significant; a sign.
Origin of significant
1570-80; < Latin significant- (stem of significāns), present participle of significāre to signify; see -ant
Related forms
significantly, adverb
nonsignificant, adjective
nonsignificantly, adverb
supersignificant, adjective
supersignificantly, adverb
unsignificant, adjective
unsignificantly, adverb
1. consequential, momentous, weighty. 2. See expressive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for significant
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I exposed to him the conclusion we in Brussels had arrived at, and pointed out the significant series of failures.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • Its most significant details were of a sordid kind, familiar to poverty.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • The secret lies chiefly in passing quickly from one significant point to another.

  • "You do not know but it may be a friend," was his significant answer.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • The manner in which the losses thus caused were repaired is significant and instructive.

British Dictionary definitions for significant


having or expressing a meaning; indicative
having a covert or implied meaning; suggestive
important, notable, or momentous
(statistics) of or relating to a difference between a result derived from a hypothesis and its observed value that is too large to be attributed to chance and that therefore tends to refute the hypothesis
Derived Forms
significantly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin significāre to signify
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 significant

1570s, "having a meaning," from Latin significantem (nominative significans, present participle of significare "make known, indicate" (see signify). Earlier in the same sense was significative (c.1400). Often "having a special or secret meaning," hence "important" (1761). Related: Significantly. Significant figure is from 1680s. Significant other (n.) attested by 1961, in psychology, "the most influential other person in the patient's world."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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