Meaning of SIGNIFICANCE in English


sig ‧ nif ‧ i ‧ cance W2 /sɪɡˈnɪfɪkəns/ BrE AmE noun [singular, uncountable]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ significance ≠ ↑ insignificance , ↑ signification ; verb : ↑ signify ; adverb : ↑ significantly ≠ ↑ insignificantly ; adjective : ↑ significant ≠ ↑ insignificant ]

1 . the importance of an event, action etc, especially because of the effects or influence it will have in the future OPP insignificance :

Stella didn’t attach any significance to Doug’s query.

significance of

the significance of climate change

The book assesses the significance of Stalin’s policies between 1927 and 1939.

significance for

The results of the study have a wider significance for all the profession.

great/little significance (in/to/for something)

The crime problem has great significance to the general public.

grasp/appreciate the significance (of something) (=fully understand something)

The press were slow to grasp the significance of what happened.

2 . the meaning of a word, sign, action etc, especially when this is not immediately clear

significance of

the significance of the words that refer to the bread Christ shares with his disciples

full/real/true significance

Only later did we realize the true significance of his remark.

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■ adjectives

▪ great/considerable significance

The judge said the new evidence was of great significance.

▪ little significance

This information on its own is of little significance.

▪ wider significance

The research dealt with one small group, but their conclusions are of much wider significance.

▪ special significance

This place has a special significance for Icelanders.

▪ political/social/historical etc significance

The political significance of this change should not be underestimated.

■ verbs

▪ have significance

A child's relationship to his parents has a lasting signficance for his future relationships.

▪ attach significance to something (=give something importance)

They say they don't attach much significance to opinion polls.

▪ take on a new/special etc significance (=start to have it)

Sporting competitions took on a new political significance during the Cold War.

▪ acquire/assume significance formal (=take on significance)

As links with Europe continue to grow, language learning assumes even greater significance.

▪ grasp/appreciate/understand the significance of something

The press was slow to grasp the significance of what had happened.

▪ assess the significance of something (=decide how important something is)

It is often difficult to assess the significance of an event until more time has passed.

• • •


▪ importance the quality of being important:

the importance of cleanliness in preventing infections


He may have been an evil tyrant, but you cannot deny his importance in world history.

▪ significance the importance of an event, action etc, especially because of the effects or influence it will have in the future:

The significance of the discovery was not understood until years later.


9/11 was an event of global significance.

▪ value the importance and usefulness or something:

The athletes talked to the students about the value of a college education.


Such methods are of little value.

▪ prominence the fact of being important and well-known:

He first came to prominence (=became well-known ) in the 1990s.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.