[hi-stawr-i-kuhl, -stor-]
  1. of, pertaining to, treating, or characteristic of history or past events: historical records; historical research.
  2. based on or reconstructed from an event, custom, style, etc., in the past: a historical reenactment of the battle of Gettysburg.
  3. having once existed or lived in the real world, as opposed to being part of legend or fiction or as distinguished from religious belief: to doubt that a historical Camelot ever existed; a theologian's study of the historical Jesus.
  4. narrated or mentioned in history; belonging to the past.
  5. noting or pertaining to analysis based on a comparison among several periods of development of a phenomenon, as in language or economics.
  6. historic(def 1).

Origin of historical

1375–1425; late Middle English < Latin historic(us) historic + -al1
Related formshis·tor·i·cal·ly, adverbhis·tor·i·cal·ness, nounan·ti·his·tor·i·cal, adjectivean·ti·his·tor·i·cal·ly, adverban·ti·his·tor·i·cal·ness, nounnon·his·tor·i·cal, adjectivenon·his·tor·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·his·tor·i·cal·ness, nounpseu·do·his·tor·i·cal, adjectivepseu·do·his·tor·i·cal·ly, adverbqua·si-his·tor·i·cal, adjectivequa·si-his·tor·i·cal·ly, adverbsem·i·his·tor·i·cal, adjectivesem·i·his·tor·i·cal·ly, adverbsu·per·his·tor·i·cal, adjectivesu·per·his·tor·i·cal·ly, adverbun·his·tor·i·cal, adjectiveun·his·tor·i·cal·ly, adverb
Can be confusedhistoric historical hysterical

Synonyms for historical

3. documented, authentic, factual, attested.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for historically

Contemporary Examples of historically

Historical Examples of historically

British Dictionary definitions for historically


  1. belonging to or typical of the study of historyhistorical methods
  2. concerned with or treating of events of the pasthistorical accounts
  3. based on or constituting factual material as distinct from legend or supposition
  4. based on or inspired by historya historical novel
  5. occurring or prominent in history
  6. a less common word for historic (def. 1)
Derived Formshistorically, adverbhistoricalness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for historically



early 15c. (earlier in same sense was historial, late 14c.), from Latin historicus (from Greek historikos "historical, of or for inquiry," from historia; see history) + -al (1). Related: Historically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper