- Historic describes something momentous or important in history.
- Historical simply describes something that belongs to an earlier period of history.
Historic and historical are two adjectives that have very similar meanings; so similar that it’s no wonder they are often confused. Still, they are not simply two spellings for the same word, so you should know when to use which.
When to use historic
Historic is an adjective that comes in handy when we speak about people, places, or events that existed or happened in the past. But we can’t use the adjective for everything that relates to the past—only those things and people that have a prominent place in history are called historic:
When to use historical
For other people or places that existed in the past, or for things that relate to history, we use the adjective historical: