Definition of significant in English:



  • 1Sufficiently great or important to be worthy of attention; noteworthy.

    ‘a significant increase in sales’
    • ‘The next significant study of perfect numbers was made by Nicomachus of Gerasa.’
    • ‘The nurses want a significant increase in their flat fee for agreeing to be on call.’
    • ‘This could be the only significant side effect possibly related to the product use.’
    • ‘If the problem is difficult enough, a theorem like this can be a significant achievement.’
    • ‘A rise in temperature of this kind would have a significant effect on the distribution of vegetation.’
    • ‘It is important to understand just how significant this new idea was.’
    • ‘Yet the British music scene has always been an early indicator of significant social and political change.’
    • ‘Bernoulli was one of the most significant promoters of the formal methods of higher analysis.’
    • ‘We thought it only fitting that we do something quite significant for humanity.’
    • ‘One of the most significant demographic changes was the decline of infant mortality at the turn of the century.’
    • ‘Max's published work, as significant and substantial as it is, is not what we will remember him by.’
    • ‘There is no doubt that this was a serious injury with significant orthopaedic and cosmetic consequences.’
    • ‘They have achieved international publicity and significant sales in every continent.’
    • ‘This has the makings of a very significant case of very considerable legal importance.’
    • ‘Weldon asked the questions that drove Pearson to some of his most significant contributions.’
    • ‘At present there seems to be a significant disparity in the statistics that are being reported.’
    • ‘This work was little known about at the time but it has since emerged how significant this work proved to be.’
    • ‘Rap, jazz and so called world music have seen significant increases in CD sales in the past few years.’
    • ‘The appeal raises a point of some general importance and concerns a significant sum.’
    • ‘Although he was not a prolific writer, his work had a significant impact and is still of considerable interest.’
    notable, noteworthy, worthy of attention, remarkable, outstanding, important, of importance, of consequence, consequential
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  • 2Having a particular meaning; indicative of something.

    ‘in times of stress her dreams seemed to her especially significant’
    • ‘As for adultery, it is significant that Santorum suggests it should be treated as a crime.’
    • ‘In measuring that weakness, his sexual misbehaviour is more symbolic than significant.’
    • ‘The national flower is the ceibo and the most symbolically significant tree is the ombu.’
    • ‘But Gordon Brown had a new and highly significant message for his American audience.’
    • ‘Yes, but these disappearing acts are significant because they are symbolic of a wider truth.’
    • ‘Use Mediamancy to derive significant messages from billboards and shop names.’
    • ‘Naming newborn children is always a very meaningful and significant issue for a family.’
    • ‘It is significant that this weighty information is not revealed to the reader.’
    • ‘For Fagan, the next few weeks promise to be the most significant of her year.’
    • ‘The data indicate that ethnicity is a significant factor in the development and course of the disease.’
    • ‘So how come the most prevalent symbol of this monumentally significant festival is the chocolate egg?’
    • ‘Almost every significant word seems to suggest a corresponding image in sound.’
    • ‘But symbolically, heading off to cover the conference is hugely significant for me.’
    • ‘Most significant of all, we felt, was that so many divers were keen enough to queue up to have their fitness checked.’
    • ‘The walls are covered with photographs marking significant moments in Wood Group's history.’
    • ‘These statements may have been symbolic, but the symbolism was highly significant in the context.’
    • ‘Empires from Rome to Carthage fought over this most significant of nautical prizes.’
    • ‘Ceres is the symbol of authority and it is significant also that she is goddess of the harvest and fecundity.’
    • ‘It is not intelligence, it is information, and that, I think, is a significant point.’
    • ‘Is it possible that certain expressions of hybridity are more significant than others?’
    1. 2.1Suggesting a meaning or message that is not explicitly stated.
      ‘she gave him a significant look’
      • ‘At all times and in all hours they were in deep consultation and Margarot was observed to say to Campbell, with a significant wink, "keep an eye on the old gentleman", meaning me.’
      • ‘Downstairs, Martha gives Margaretha a significant look, upon which she rises and excuses herself to her guests, who leave.’
      meaningful, expressive, eloquent, informative, revealing, indicative, suggestive, symbolic, relevant, pregnant, knowing, telling, pithy, valid, purposeful
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  • 3Statistics
    Relating to or having significance.

    • ‘When we found the effect of sex to be statistically significant we regressed the male and female data separately.’
    • ‘We considered a P value of less than 0.05 to be statistical significant in all comparisons.’
    • ‘The first study fell short of showing a statistically significant benefit.’
    • ‘All of these physiological parameters showed significant differences statistically.’
    • ‘Just as for the acentrics, group and radiation dose were statistically significant predictors.’


Late 16th century ( significant): from Latin significant- indicating from the verb significare (see signify).