Historic - historical

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Historical and historic are both adjectives derived from the noun 'history', but they have rather different meanings.

  • Historical means 'belonging to history or to the study of history'. So a historical survey of a problem is a survey which considers the history of the problem, and an historical novel is a novel which describes, or is based on, historical events, i.e., events which actually happened.
  • Historic means 'significant, famous, or important in history'. So "That was an historic day for the country" means "That was a significant or important day in the history of the country".

For a note on the difference between "a historic" or "an historic", see H with indefinite article.