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[sig-nif-i-kuh ns] /sɪgˈnɪf ɪ kəns/
importance; consequence:
the significance of the new treaty.
meaning; import:
The familiar place had a new significance for her.
the quality of being significant or having a meaning:
to give significance to dull chores.
Origin of significance
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English (< Middle French) < Latin significantia force, meaning, equivalent to significant- (see significant) + -ia -ia; see -ance
Related forms
nonsignificance, noun
self-significance, noun
1. moment, weight. See importance. 2. See meaning.
1. triviality. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for significance
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When she realized the significance of our words, she gave way to a frenzy of anger.

    Forty Years of 'Spy' Leslie Ward
  • Where it came from Clif could not tell, but he realized the significance in an instant.

    A Prisoner of Morro Upton Sinclair
  • Indeed, so strange was his new-found knowledge, that he could not grasp the significance of even half of the facts in his mind.

  • Time had long ceased to have any significance for Maisie White.

    Jack O' Judgment Edgar Wallace
  • There is none that can stir the heart more deeply or give to human affairs such dignity and significance.

British Dictionary definitions for significance


consequence or importance
something signified, expressed, or intended
the state or quality of being significant
  1. a measure of the confidence that can be placed in a result, esp a substantive causal hypothesis, as not being merely a matter of chance
  2. (as modifier): a significance level Compare confidence level See also hypothesis testing
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for significance

c.1400, "meaning," from Old French significance or directly from Latin significantia "meaning, force, energy," from significans, present participle of significare "to mean, import, signify" (see signify). The earlier word was signifiance (mid-13c.). Meaning "importance" is from 1725. Related: Significancy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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