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Significative vs. Significant — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Urooj Arif — Updated on April 27, 2024
"Significative" conveys a symbolic or indicative meaning, while "significant" denotes importance or substantial effect.
Significative vs. Significant — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Significative and Significant


Key Differences

"Significative" often refers to something that serves as a symbol or represents something else, whereas "significant" is used to describe something that is notably important or has a major impact.
In communication, a significative gesture or word implies a deeper, often unspoken meaning, on the other hand, a significant statement has clear and impactful content.
The usage of "significative" is more common in formal or academic contexts to discuss symbolic representations, while "significant" is broadly used in everyday language to express value or magnitude.
When analyzing literature, a significative element may not alter the plot but enriches the thematic understanding, whereas a significant event usually drives the narrative forward.
In statistics, there's no term as "significative value"; instead, "significant value" or "statistical significance" refers to the likelihood that a result is not due to chance.

Comparison Chart


Symbolic or indicative
Important or of substantial consequence

Common Usage Context

Formal, academic
Everyday, across disciplines

Impact on Content

Adds depth or symbolic meaning
Alters importance or outcome

Example in Literature

Used to interpret underlying themes
Directly affects the plot or argument

Statistical Relevance

Not applicable
Refers to meaningful, non-random results

Compare with Definitions


Pertaining to a sign or symbol.
The red rose is often significative of love.


Considerably large, important, or noticeable.
A significant increase in sales was noted this quarter.


Expressing or implying meaning.
The artist’s use of dark colors was significative of his mood.


Having a particular meaning.
In legal terms, shall has a significant implication.


Acting as a sign or indication of something.
Her glance was significative of her agreement.


Worthy of attention.
She played a significant role in the project's success.


Involved in the process of signifying.
The term has a significative role in semiotic analysis.


Having or likely to have influence or effect.
The policy will have significant effects on the economy.


Symbolically representative.
In many cultures, animals are significative of various spiritual attributes.


Statistically meaningful.
The results of the experiment were significant.


Having meaning; significant.


Sufficiently great or important to be worthy of attention; noteworthy
A significant increase in sales


That tends to signify or indicate; indicative


Having a particular meaning; indicative of something
In times of stress her dreams seemed to her especially significant


That has meaning or significance; significant


Relating to or having significance.


Betokening or representing by an external sign.
The holy symbols or signs are not barely significative.


Having or expressing a meaning
Are the markings on the stone significant?.


Having signification or meaning; expressive of a meaning or purpose; significant.
Neither in the degrees of kindred they were destitute of significative words.


Having or expressing a covert or nonverbal meaning; suggestive
A significant glance.


(usually followed by `of') pointing out or revealing clearly;
Actions indicative of fear


Having or likely to have a major effect; important
A significant change in the tax laws.


Fairly large in amount or quantity
Significant casualties.
No significant opposition.


(Statistics) Of or relating to observations or occurrences that are too closely correlated to be attributed to chance and therefore indicate a systematic relationship.


Signifying something; carrying meaning.
A significant word or sound
A significant look


Having a covert or hidden meaning.


Having a noticeable or major effect.
That was a significant step in the right direction.
The First World War was a significant event.


Reasonably large in number or amount.


(statistics) Having a low probability of occurring by chance (for example, having high correlation and thus likely to be related).


That which has significance; a sign; a token; a symbol.


Fitted or designed to signify or make known somethingl having a meaning; standing as a sign or token; expressive or suggestive; as, a significant word or sound; a significant look.
It was well said of Plotinus, that the stars were significant, but not efficient.


Deserving to be considered; important; momentous; as, a significant event.


That which has significance; a sign; a token; a symbol.
In dumb significants proclaim your thoughts.


Important in effect or meaning;
A significant change in tax laws
A significant change in the Constitution
A significant contribution
Significant details
Statistically significant


Fairly large;
Won by a substantial margin


Too closely correlated to be attributed to chance and therefore indicating a systematic relation;
The interaction effect is significant at the .01 level
No significant difference was found


Rich in significance or implication;
A meaning look
Pregnant with meaning

Common Curiosities

What is the primary difference between significative and significant?

Significative refers to symbolism or indication, while significant implies importance or substantial effect.

How do you use significative in a sentence?

"The use of white in the painting is significative of purity."

What does significant mean in statistical terms?

In statistics, significant means the results are unlikely to be due to chance.

Is significative a common term in everyday language?

No, significative is less common and more typically found in formal or specialized contexts.

What is an example of a significative use in literature?

"In 'Moby Dick', the white whale is significative of the main character's obsession."

Is there a significative aspect to all forms of art?

Many forms of art include significative elements that symbolize deeper meanings or cultural values.

What makes a fact significant in historical studies?

A fact is significant in history if it has had a substantial impact on developments or outcomes.

How does significant impact the understanding of an event?

Significant details or events are those that crucially affect the outcome or understanding of a situation.

Can the significance of an event change over time?

Yes, what is considered significant can change as perspectives and contexts evolve.

Why might someone choose the word significative over significant?

To emphasize the symbolic or indicative nature of an element rather than its importance.

Can something be both significative and significant?

Yes, an element can be both symbolically meaningful (significative) and important (significant).

How does one determine if a result is statistically significant?

Statistical significance is determined through specific tests that measure the probability that a result is not by chance.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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