The term “important” comes from the Latin word “importare,” which means “to bring in” or “to convey significance.” This is derived from the Latin prefix “in-” meaning “into” and “portare” meaning “to carry.”

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “*per-” means “to carry” or “to bring.”

2. Latin

From the PIE root, the Latin word “portare” developed, meaning “to carry.” The prefix “in-” (into) was combined with “portare,” forming “importare,” meaning “to bring in” or “to convey significance.” The adjective “importans” was derived from “importare,” meaning “significant” or “consequential.”

3. Old French (c. 9th to 14th century CE)

The Latin term “importans” evolved into Old French “important,” retaining the meaning of “significant” or “consequential.”

4. Middle English (c. 11th to 15th century CE)

The Old French “important” was adopted into Middle English as “important,” retaining the meaning of “significant” or “consequential.”

5. Modern English (from 15th century CE to present)

The term “important” evolved into its current form and pronunciation, primarily meaning “of great significance or value.”

Phonetic Evolution

Over time, the pronunciation of “important” has remained relatively stable from Old French to Modern English.

Usage Examples

  • “Important is often used to describe something that has great significance or value.”
  • “Another example of ‘important’ in a sentence is ‘It is important to get enough sleep for maintaining good health.'”
  • “It can also refer to someone who holds a position of authority or influence, as in ‘He is an important figure in the community.'”

Cultural or Historical Notes

The development of the word “important” was significantly influenced by its use in various contexts, including social, political, and personal significance. Importance has been associated with matters that carry weight, influence decisions, or hold considerable value.

The word “important” reflects the concept of significance and value, emphasizing the importance of recognizing and prioritizing matters of consequence. It underscores the role of importance in decision-making, prioritization, and the allocation of attention and resources in various aspects of life, from personal choices to societal issues.