Definition of historical in US English:

historical

adjective

  • 1Of or concerning history; concerning past events.

    ‘the historical background to such studies’
    • ‘They do not have the same concerns about historical objectivity that professional historians do.’
    • ‘This may be due to the constant reminiscing of certain horrendous historical events.’
    • ‘Contemporary historical sociology is concerned above all with how the state has developed since the Middle Ages.’
    • ‘We give a little historical background to these events in our article Babylonian mathematics.’
    • ‘The girl will also tell the important historical events in India in the last 500 years.’
    • ‘Studies based on historical records are necessarily limited in the kinds of questions they can answer.’
    • ‘Only later is the full historical significance of the event clearly evident.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is, supposedly, new and different and it would be inappropriate to set every event in its historical context.’
    • ‘Further insight can be gained by studying the historical development of an author's thought.’
    • ‘Second, Coerver and Hall exhibit a knack for casting recent events in historical perspective.’
    • ‘We begin with an analysis of the historical development of British industrial relations.’
    • ‘Also, it is based more on historical developments than on religious teachings.’
    • ‘We urge tram workers and all those looking for a way forward to turn to a study of these vital historical lessons.’
    • ‘Many address recognizable contemporary events and the broad historical dynamics of cultural change.’
    • ‘The version presented here is based on United Nations historical documentations.’
    • ‘Why should it be illegal to deny the existence of a historical event we all know took place?’
    • ‘Until recently, the subject was studied as historical periods rather than particular units.’
    • ‘Backed by a wealth of material, the book revealed in detail the historical facts concerning these events.’
    actual, existent, non-fictional, non-fictitious, factual
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    1. 1.1 Belonging to the past, not the present.
      ‘famous historical figures’
      • ‘The actors discuss the challenges of playing recognisable historical figures.’
      • ‘The work opens up the world of this historical people, namely the ancient Greeks.’
      • ‘It is not easy to get inside the head of a real-life historical figure but Galloway has accomplished this with absolute ease.’
      • ‘But she says her love of the ancient sport traced back to a family passion for historical weaponry.’
      • ‘Ellroy pioneered the introduction of real historical figures and episodes into his novels.’
      • ‘To that end, Grass says they're playing the archetypes rather than the historical figures.’
      • ‘Our cast list expanded to include historical figures remembering the distant rather than the recent past.’
      • ‘The burial ground of some of Carlow's leading historical figures is regularly the scene of attacks.’
      • ‘The audience surveys a melange of imaginary figures, and historical ones both famous and obscure.’
      • ‘This article is based on analysis of historical and contemporary data, including interviews and site visits.’
      • ‘The burial ground of some of the area's leading historical figures is regularly the scene of attacks.’
      • ‘Years ago, authors used to take their time about writing about historical figures.’
      • ‘I'm sure that historical religious figures would be annoyed by all the din produced today.’
      • ‘For the practitioner, it presents a landscape of historical figures that have made their mark.’
      • ‘There's a speculative component to attempting to do diagnoses on historical figures.’
      • ‘Belief in a religion is belief in an idea and in particular historical figures whether Muhammad, Christ or Joseph Smith.’
      • ‘As with all great historical figures, the myth is both powerful and pervasive.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You also console yourself with the knowledge that these are historical artefacts from a bygone era.’
      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.
      • ‘Combined they work out okay, but a truly historical or legendary film might have been cooler.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One would have to be very naive to expect any historical Hollywood film to be accurate.’
      • ‘He was still completing the preliminary stages of getting in shape and watching all the relevant historical films.’
      • ‘She wrote many other historical and romantic novels, including several sequels to The Scarlet Pimpernel.’
      • ‘As a historical feature film, does it correctly capture the essence of the story?’
      • ‘Prone to the legendary, it lacks credibility as a historical narrative.’
      • ‘She found a historical film made in 1959 by Belgian missionaries and took it to Rwanda.’
      • ‘The play gave him the idea to write a historical thriller and combine both his history and English teaching experience in a novel.’
      • ‘Politically it's no better or worse than any of those historical sagas, one can easily apply left or right wing analysis to it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Priceless historical film rescued from a Blackburn rubbish skip will go on show to the public for the first time this week.’
      • ‘I think the gist was that it's a historical story about immigrants coming to London.’
      • ‘His use of novels and historical narrative were essential to his reinvention of the Tory party.’
      • ‘What about the real meaning of a historical record or a novel or a poem?’
      • ‘The festival will open with the historical film Vercingetorix, which was shot in Bulgaria.’
      • ‘Literary enthusiasts eager to draw on such historical stories will be able to take advantage of the new Jerwood Centre.’
      • ‘She agrees with Jacobovici but she points out a crucial ingredient needed to make a historical film work.’
    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’
      • ‘Until relatively recently, slavery was not a subject at the center of historical scholarship.’
      • ‘Even when pupils take historical studies, modern teaching methods may subvert the subject.’
      • ‘The role of cavalry was far more complicated and is well worth historical study.’
      • ‘They celebrated historical studies of science as ways of explaining the heroic progress of science towards truth.’
      • ‘It contains practical advice as well as literary and historical learning.’
      • ‘The book consists of an interesting introduction followed by a biblical, theological and historical study.’
      • ‘He has done this in conjunction with more traditional historical studies.’
      • ‘He demonstrates that serious historical scholarship need not be indigestible.’
      • ‘Certainly this is the way it has been portrayed in various historical studies of the press.’
      • ‘It is unquestionably one of the most important historical studies of recent years.’
      • ‘Well all these predictions about death rates are based on historical analyses.’
      • ‘But for historical studies, the main object of interest is ordinary civilian life.’
      • ‘He spoke of the historical studies with the sort of qualifiers that give one pause.’
      • ‘It is common practice in historical studies of the philosophy of science to contrast the views of Mill and Whewell.’
      • ‘That can make the historical study of empires frustrating, but is also part of what makes it ever-mobile and exciting.’
      • ‘And so began intensive historical study of the gospels and their sources which continues to this day.’
      • ‘Martha Treadway might seem at first to be an unlikely subject for historical study.’
      • ‘Today, we have the tools of historical scholarship, biblical criticism, and science.’
      • ‘This analysis of social change is based on a historical analysis of classes.’
      • ‘The messages of historical studies in this field are, overall, rather mixed.’
      documented, recorded, chronicled, attested, factual, verified, confirmed, archival, authentic, actual, true
      View synonyms

Usage

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

Origin

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

Pronunciation

historical

/hiˈstôrək(ə)l//hɪˈstɔrək(ə)l/