Definition of significance in English:



mass noun
  • 1The quality of being worthy of attention; importance.

    ‘adolescent education was felt to be a social issue of some significance’
    • ‘All committal hearings are proceedings of significance and importance.’
    • ‘The significance of this idea for the development of science from the first beginnings to the present day has been immense.’
    • ‘Mr Suzuki said the coup issue has special significance for the union movement.’
    • ‘The work was incomplete at the time of his death but it is still a work of the greatest significance in the theory of probability.’
    • ‘Further evaluation is needed to be able to assess the biological significance of these findings.’
    • ‘Because of its representative nature the Memorial should be recognized as a site of national heritage significance.’
    • ‘This could help the country promote its own agenda on issues of significance on the world stage.’
    • ‘Mr Jordan said it was important electors appreciate the significance of the new arrangements.’
    • ‘But he fails to articulate a clear position on any issue of major public significance.’
    • ‘Electoral reform is not an issue of significance to the wider electorate.’
    • ‘The significance of these results is discussed in terms of models for replication restart.’
    • ‘In many cultures, water is not just a necessity of life, it has a deep spiritual significance, too.’
    • ‘It is the breadth and the quality of Kelvingrove's hoard that gives the museum international significance.’
    • ‘The significance of the imports is that those books are priced much lower.’
    • ‘They were no doubt too busy but ill-advised as to the proper significance of such a distinguished visitor.’
    • ‘"This is arguably the most important building in terms of Heritage significance in the main street of Alstonville.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, it is an important precedent with wider significance in environmental law.’
    • ‘Since its inception, radio has had a particular symbolic significance attached to it.’
    • ‘Despite speculation to the contrary, the compensation issue is of limited significance.’
    • ‘We now come to the importance and significance of science in human affairs.’
    importance, import, noteworthiness, consequence, substance, seriousness, gravity, weight, weightiness, magnitude, moment, momentousness
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  • 2The meaning to be found in words or events.

    ‘the significance of what was happening was clearer to me than to her’
    • ‘For him, these trips and the conversations he has had with people have special significance.’
    • ‘He became more aware of the significance of the event on the day of the funeral.’
    • ‘However, the word's real significance in the context of his comments lay in what it did not convey.’
    • ‘Old words were being given new significance, and new words were being coined to meet new demands.’
    • ‘It is only in the future that the significance of certain events and tendencies becomes clear.’
    • ‘The term treaty has a special constitutional significance in the United States.’
    • ‘The same words can take on different meanings and significance depending on who uses them in a particular context.’
    • ‘We are so accustomed to the use of this expression that we forget to stop and think of its meaning or significance.’
    • ‘Several previously exhibited works took on new significance in the context of this exhibition.’
    • ‘This event has additional significance this year as it is the second leg of the Rivercare Championship for the Ouse.’
    • ‘The very mysteriousness of his paintings added significance to every word he wrote or spoke on the subject of art.’
    • ‘The legal significance of the events which I recited is, in our submission, a matter of law.’
    • ‘He believes that the deal hammered out over the club has special significance.’
    • ‘I am to set in motion a concatenation of events whose end or significance I can in no way envisage.’
    • ‘On my block in Laventille, teenagers didn't attach due significance to the event.’
    • ‘I discovered I had just missed an event of some significance in my wife's family.’
    • ‘Later that same year occurred an event of some significance in the history of Punjab and India.’
    • ‘This saying alerts the reader to the deeper significance of the events which are about to be narrated.’
    • ‘From her point of view it was an event devoid of any significance whatsoever.’
    • ‘What he probably means is that this was the first event of any real significance; only then did his life properly begin.’
    meaning, sense, signification, import, thrust, drift, gist, burden, theme, implication, tenor, message, essence, substance, relevance, purport, intention, spirit, point
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  • 3The extent to which a result deviates from that expected to arise simply from random variation or errors in sampling.

    • ‘I do not think that the significance of the error can be discounted in this way.’
    • ‘The statistical significance of each estimated coefficient was assessed using the Wald statistic for each.’
    • ‘Chi-square analysis was used to determine the statistical significance of phenotypic differences observed among different genotypes.’
    • ‘The failure of the results to reach statistical significance in women may simply reflect the fact that fewer procedures are carried out in women.’
    • ‘We used the Wald statistic to assess statistical significance of the results.’


Late Middle English (denoting unstated meaning): from Old French, or from Latin significantia, from significare ‘indicate, portend’.