Definition of historical in US English:

historical

adjective

  • 1Of or concerning history; concerning past events.

    ‘the historical background to such studies’
    • ‘Backed by a wealth of material, the book revealed in detail the historical facts concerning these events.’
    • ‘It is, supposedly, new and different and it would be inappropriate to set every event in its historical context.’
    • ‘He said another important concern involves the two warships' historical background.’
    • ‘Without it, York's historical fabric would have been ruined and its retail heart irreparably damaged.’
    • ‘Also, it is based more on historical developments than on religious teachings.’
    • ‘Second, Coerver and Hall exhibit a knack for casting recent events in historical perspective.’
    • ‘Until recently, the subject was studied as historical periods rather than particular units.’
    • ‘We urge tram workers and all those looking for a way forward to turn to a study of these vital historical lessons.’
    • ‘Why should it be illegal to deny the existence of a historical event we all know took place?’
    • ‘Further insight can be gained by studying the historical development of an author's thought.’
    • ‘We begin with an analysis of the historical development of British industrial relations.’
    • ‘Contemporary historical sociology is concerned above all with how the state has developed since the Middle Ages.’
    • ‘Many address recognizable contemporary events and the broad historical dynamics of cultural change.’
    • ‘The version presented here is based on United Nations historical documentations.’
    • ‘We give a little historical background to these events in our article Babylonian mathematics.’
    • ‘Only later is the full historical significance of the event clearly evident.’
    • ‘This may be due to the constant reminiscing of certain horrendous historical events.’
    • ‘Studies based on historical records are necessarily limited in the kinds of questions they can answer.’
    • ‘They do not have the same concerns about historical objectivity that professional historians do.’
    • ‘The girl will also tell the important historical events in India in the last 500 years.’
    actual, existent, non-fictional, non-fictitious, factual
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    1. 1.1 Belonging to the past, not the present.
      ‘famous historical figures’
      • ‘This article is based on analysis of historical and contemporary data, including interviews and site visits.’
      • ‘The burial ground of some of Carlow's leading historical figures is regularly the scene of attacks.’
      • ‘Our cast list expanded to include historical figures remembering the distant rather than the recent past.’
      • ‘As with all great historical figures, the myth is both powerful and pervasive.’
      • ‘Belief in a religion is belief in an idea and in particular historical figures whether Muhammad, Christ or Joseph Smith.’
      • ‘The audience surveys a melange of imaginary figures, and historical ones both famous and obscure.’
      • ‘Do you have a favourite place, food, drink or historical figure in Bulgaria that you will also remember?’
      • ‘Two historical figures, then, standout as examples and mentors for us today.’
      • ‘For the practitioner, it presents a landscape of historical figures that have made their mark.’
      • ‘The actors discuss the challenges of playing recognisable historical figures.’
      • ‘But she says her love of the ancient sport traced back to a family passion for historical weaponry.’
      • ‘To that end, Grass says they're playing the archetypes rather than the historical figures.’
      • ‘The work opens up the world of this historical people, namely the ancient Greeks.’
      • ‘Ellroy pioneered the introduction of real historical figures and episodes into his novels.’
      • ‘I'm sure that historical religious figures would be annoyed by all the din produced today.’
      • ‘There's a speculative component to attempting to do diagnoses on historical figures.’
      • ‘It is not easy to get inside the head of a real-life historical figure but Galloway has accomplished this with absolute ease.’
      • ‘Years ago, authors used to take their time about writing about historical figures.’
      • ‘You also console yourself with the knowledge that these are historical artefacts from a bygone era.’
      • ‘The burial ground of some of the area's leading historical figures is regularly the scene of attacks.’
      past, bygone, ancient, old, former, prior, from the past
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    2. 1.2 (especially of a novel or movie) set in the past.
      • ‘He was still completing the preliminary stages of getting in shape and watching all the relevant historical films.’
      • ‘I think the gist was that it's a historical story about immigrants coming to London.’
      • ‘The play gave him the idea to write a historical thriller and combine both his history and English teaching experience in a novel.’
      • ‘She agrees with Jacobovici but she points out a crucial ingredient needed to make a historical film work.’
      • ‘Prone to the legendary, it lacks credibility as a historical narrative.’
      • ‘One would have to be very naive to expect any historical Hollywood film to be accurate.’
      • ‘His use of novels and historical narrative were essential to his reinvention of the Tory party.’
      • ‘Priceless historical film rescued from a Blackburn rubbish skip will go on show to the public for the first time this week.’
      • ‘Literary enthusiasts eager to draw on such historical stories will be able to take advantage of the new Jerwood Centre.’
      • ‘Politically it's no better or worse than any of those historical sagas, one can easily apply left or right wing analysis to it.’
      • ‘I plunged head first into this story after being inspired by other historical stories I have read.’
      • ‘These three novels are historical in that they recall a life that no longer exists and recreate societies that are apparently past.’
      • ‘Combined they work out okay, but a truly historical or legendary film might have been cooler.’
      • ‘She wrote many other historical and romantic novels, including several sequels to The Scarlet Pimpernel.’
      • ‘The festival will open with the historical film Vercingetorix, which was shot in Bulgaria.’
      • ‘What about the real meaning of a historical record or a novel or a poem?’
      • ‘She found a historical film made in 1959 by Belgian missionaries and took it to Rwanda.’
      • ‘As a historical feature film, does it correctly capture the essence of the story?’
      • ‘The book was an instant success and was followed by eight more historical, romantic novels in five years.’
      • ‘Giggleswick writer Julie Majzlik found fame after penning three successful historical romance novels.’
    3. 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’
      • ‘Well all these predictions about death rates are based on historical analyses.’
      • ‘And so began intensive historical study of the gospels and their sources which continues to this day.’
      • ‘The messages of historical studies in this field are, overall, rather mixed.’
      • ‘The role of cavalry was far more complicated and is well worth historical study.’
      • ‘It is unquestionably one of the most important historical studies of recent years.’
      • ‘That can make the historical study of empires frustrating, but is also part of what makes it ever-mobile and exciting.’
      • ‘Until relatively recently, slavery was not a subject at the center of historical scholarship.’
      • ‘But for historical studies, the main object of interest is ordinary civilian life.’
      • ‘Martha Treadway might seem at first to be an unlikely subject for historical study.’
      • ‘This analysis of social change is based on a historical analysis of classes.’
      • ‘He spoke of the historical studies with the sort of qualifiers that give one pause.’
      • ‘He demonstrates that serious historical scholarship need not be indigestible.’
      • ‘It contains practical advice as well as literary and historical learning.’
      • ‘Even when pupils take historical studies, modern teaching methods may subvert the subject.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The book consists of an interesting introduction followed by a biblical, theological and historical study.’
      • ‘Certainly this is the way it has been portrayed in various historical studies of the press.’
      • ‘He has done this in conjunction with more traditional historical studies.’
      • ‘Today, we have the tools of historical scholarship, biblical criticism, and science.’
      documented, recorded, chronicled, attested, factual, verified, confirmed, archival, authentic, actual, true
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Usage

On the use of an historical event or a historical event, see an On the difference between historical and historic, see historic

Origin

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

Pronunciation

historical

/hɪˈstɔrək(ə)l//hiˈstôrək(ə)l/