Definition of historical in English:

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Pronunciation: /hɪˈstɒrɪk(ə)l/


1Of or concerning history or past events: historical evidence
More example sentences
  • We give a little historical background to these events in our article Babylonian mathematics.
  • Backed by a wealth of material, the book revealed in detail the historical facts concerning these events.
  • Why should it be illegal to deny the existence of a historical event we all know took place?
1.1Belonging to the past: famous historical figures
More example sentences
  • Our cast list expanded to include historical figures remembering the distant rather than the recent past.
  • Belief in a religion is belief in an idea and in particular historical figures whether Muhammad, Christ or Joseph Smith.
  • Years ago, authors used to take their time about writing about historical figures.
past, bygone, ancient, old, former, prior, from the past
literary of yore
1.2(Especially of a novel or film) set in the past.
Example sentences
  • His use of novels and historical narrative were essential to his reinvention of the Tory party.
  • The festival will open with the historical film Vercingetorix, which was shot in Bulgaria.
  • Priceless historical film rescued from a Blackburn rubbish skip will go on show to the public for the first time this week.
1.3(Of the study of a subject) based on an analysis of its development over a period: for the Darwinians, biogeography became a historical science
More example sentences
  • Martha Treadway might seem at first to be an unlikely subject for historical study.
  • They celebrated historical studies of science as ways of explaining the heroic progress of science towards truth.
  • It is common practice in historical studies of the philosophy of science to contrast the views of Mill and Whewell.
documented, recorded, chronicled, attested, factual, verified, confirmed, archival, authentic, actual, true


On the use of an historical event or a historical event, see an (usage).


Late Middle English: via Latin from Greek historikos (see historic).

Words that rhyme with historical

ahistorical, allegorical, categorical, metaphorical, oratorical, phantasmagorical, rhetorical

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: his¦tor|ic¦al

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