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Are adjectives historic and historical interchangable and do they have the same meaning?

According to the dictonaries, their meaning is very close and sometimes overlaps, but is not entirely the same. My English teacher also says there exists a difference, but does not know how to explain it.

Could somebody - a native speaker, perhaps? - explain to me the difference and give some examples of their usage? Thanks.
New Member03
I'm no native speaker, but I'd give it a shot.

This is how I use the words:

This is a truly historic event. (I've also come across "historical event".)

Can you give me the historical background on this? (not "historic")
Senior Member3,933
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Historical : About or related to history. Doesn't need to carry any important or memorable connotation.
ex: I don't want to go to a movie that is full of historical events.
- She loves historical novels.
- There are many historical documents in Washington DC's libraries.

Historic : having a historical significance; marking a memorable event.
ex: I want to see a movie about the historic battles in WWII.
- She loves the novels that deal with historic romances such as the one involving Napoleon and Josephine.
- A historic document, the "Hongkong Colonization Treaty" signed in late 19th century, was unveiled by the Smithsonian in Washington DC last week.
Junior Member89
historic-------->famous, important, extraordary and epoch-making.......
historical------>factual, documented, chronicle, confirmed.......
Junior Member58
The meaning of “historic” has been narrowed down to “famous in history.” One should not call a building, site, district, or event “historical.” Sites may be of historical interest if historians are interested in them, but not just because they are old. In America “historic” is grossly overused as a synonym for “older than my father” s day."
One should not call a building, site, district, or event “historical.”

I would not go so far, Floral.

A 'historical district' could be a district that no longer exists; for instance the three
parts of ancient Gaul.

'Do you mean "Waterloo", London station, or "Waterloo," historical event?'

'Camelot is not a historical site.'

The distinction between historic (important) and historical
(pertaining to history) is a good rule of thumb, but isn't always observed
by native speakers. Dictionaries usually give the principal meaning of
each as a secondary meaning of the other.

Note also:
1. 'historic': of tenses, 'relating to the past';
2. 'historical novel': 'pertaining to history' sometimes in only a very loose sense;
3. 'historical present tense': where the present tense is used to narrate past
events.

MrP
Veteran Member12,806
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Mr. P,

Excuse my ignorance on the subject, but...
where is Gaul?
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Hello Julielai

Gaul was an ancient region of Europe, consisting of what is now France, northern
Italy, Belgium, parts of Germany, and the southern Netherlands. It was divided into
two provinces by the Romans (Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul).

Julius Caesar wrote a book about his conquest of the latter. It's often the first real
Latin text schoolboys encounter, and begins with the celebrated sentence: 'Gaul is
divided into three parts'.

Bernard Shaw once said that Caesar was the only Latin author he liked, because his statement that Gaul is divided into three parts, though neither interesting nor true,
was at least comprehensible.

Sometimes you still hear 'Gallic' used as a humorous synonym for 'French'. (It's quite
an old joke now.)

MrP
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I see. Thank you.
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