The term “significant” comes from the Latin word “significans,” which means “indicating” or “showing.” This is derived from the Latin verb “significare,” meaning “to signify” or “to mean,” which itself comes from “signum,” meaning “sign,” and “facere,” meaning “to make.”

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “*sekw-” means “to say” or “to speak.”

2. Latin

From the PIE root, the Latin word “signum” developed, meaning “sign” or “mark.” The verb “significare” combines “signum” (sign) and “facere” (to make), meaning “to signify” or “to indicate.” The adjective “significans” is derived from “significare,” meaning “indicating” or “showing.”

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

The Latin term “significans” evolved into Old French “significant,” meaning “indicating” or “important.”

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

The Old French “significant” was adopted into Middle English as “significant,” meaning “indicating” or “important.”

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

The term “significant” evolved into its current form and pronunciation, retaining the meanings of “having meaning” or “important.”

Phonetic Evolution

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

Usage Examples

  • “The discovery was significant for the advancement of science.”
  • “Another example of ‘significant’ in a sentence is ‘She played a significant role in the success of the project.'”

Cultural or Historical Notes

The development of the word “significant” was significantly influenced by its use in describing things that have meaning, importance, or impact. Significance has been a key concept in various fields, including science, literature, and daily life, to denote importance and relevance.

The word “significant” reflects the importance of recognizing and indicating things that have meaning or impact, emphasizing the role of significance in understanding, evaluating, and communicating the importance of events, discoveries, and contributions.