Definition of historical in English:

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Pronunciation: /hiˈstôrək(ə)l/


1Of or concerning history; concerning past events: the historical background to such studies
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, not the present: 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
literary of yore
1.2(Especially of a novel or movie) 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, archival;
authentic, factual, actual, true


1 On the difference between historical and historic, see historic (usage). 2 On the use of an historical event or a historical event, see an.


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

Syllabification: his·tor·i·cal

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