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Significance vs. Importance: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 7, 2023
"Significance" refers to the meaning or implication of something, while "Importance" denotes its value or priority.

Key Differences

"Significance" often delves into the deeper implications, meanings, or symbolism behind actions, events, or findings. For example, a discovery might have scientific significance due to its implications for a theory. On the other hand, "Importance" usually emphasizes value, utility, or priority in a given context. If the same discovery has a potential real-world application, it gains importance.
In some contexts, "Significance" can be more subjective, tied to individual or cultural interpretations. For instance, a personal memento may have great significance for someone due to its sentimental value. "Importance", by contrast, leans more towards an objective measure, where something stands out because of its critical role or function, such as the importance of water to life.
Historically, both words have been used in various contexts to emphasize relevance. However, "Significance" may often be preferred in academic or analytical settings to discuss implications or meanings, as in statistical significance. "Importance" might be used more in everyday scenarios or in contexts where value, necessity, or priority is the focus.
It's essential to realize that while these words have distinct nuances, they are sometimes used interchangeably. The significance of an event can be its importance in a historical timeline, and the importance of a fact can be its significance in understanding a broader topic.

Comparison Chart


Meaning or implication of something.
Value or priority of something.

Context of Use

Academic, analytical, subjective.
Everyday, objective, value-based.

Associated Terms

Meaning, implication, symbolism.
Value, utility, necessity.


Can be subjective based on personal or cultural views.
More objective, based on function or utility.


Statistical significance, symbolic significance.
Importance of health, importance of time management.

Significance and Importance Definitions


The meaning or interpretation of something.
The significance of the dream puzzled him.


A comedic performer, often in a circus, with a brightly colored costume and makeup.
The clown juggled and made everyone laugh with his antics.


A statistic measure indicating the reliability of a result.
The results achieved statistical significance.


Someone who acts in a silly or playful manner.
Stop acting like a clown and focus on your work!


The underlying message or implication.
The film had a deeper significance about societal norms.


A performer skilled in slapstick comedy or buffoonery.
The clown's pie-in-the-face routine was a hit.


The quality of being noteworthy or relevant.
The significance of her findings was widely acknowledged.


An individual making fun or trying to be amusing in a clumsy manner.
She's always the clown in class, making everyone giggle.


The state or quality of being significant
A matter of some significance.


The quality or condition of being important; significance.


A meaning that is expressed or implied
What was the significance of that smile?.


Personal status; standing
People of great importance.


The extent to which something matters; importance
As a juror your opinion is of great significance for the outcome of the trial.


(Obsolete) Meaning; import.


The significance of a gesture


(Obsolete) Importunity.


The quality or state of being significant.


The quality or condition of being important or worthy of note.


That which is signified; meaning; import; as, the significance of a nod, of a motion of the hand, or of a word or expression.


Significance or prominence.


Importance; moment; weight; consequence.
With this brain I must work, in order to give significancy and value to the few facts which I possess.


Personal status or standing.


The quality of being significant;
Do not underestimate the significance of nuclear power


Something of importance.


A meaning that is not expressly stated but can be inferred;
The significance of his remark became clear only later
The expectation was spread both by word and by implication


The quality or state of being important; consequence; weight; moment; significance.
Thy own importance know,Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.


The message that is intended or expressed or signified;
What is the meaning of this sentence
The significance of a red traffic light
The signification of Chinese characters
The import of his announcement was ambigtuous


Subject; matter.
Upon importance of so slight and trivial a nature.


The symbolic meaning of something.
Roses have a significance of love in many cultures.


Import; meaning; significance.
The wisest beholder could not say if the importance were joy or sorrow.


Importunity; solicitation.
At our importance hither is he come.


The quality of being important and worthy of note;
The importance of a well-balanced diet


A prominent status;
A person of importance


A rude or vulgar person (slang).
He behaved like a complete clown at the party.


Do mimes always perform silently?

Yes, mimes traditionally use gestures and expressions without speaking.

Is miming a modern art form?

No, miming dates back to ancient Greece and has evolved over time.

Do clowns always wear makeup?

Most do for performances, using exaggerated makeup to amplify expressions.

Why do clowns wear bright costumes?

The vibrant attire draws attention and enhances their comedic persona.

Are clowns always found in circuses?

While common in circuses, clowns can also be at parties, events, or theaters.

Is a jester the same as a clown?

They share similarities, but jesters historically entertained royalty, while clowns have broader audiences.

Can a mime use props?

While traditionally minimalistic, some mimes might use select props for emphasis.

Is mime only a Western art form?

No, while popular in the West, miming or silent performance exists in various cultures.

Can someone be afraid of clowns?

Yes, coulrophobia is an irrational fear of clowns.

Can mime be a form of street art?

Absolutely, many mimes perform on streets, entertaining passersby.

Do clowns always have a red nose?

While iconic, not all clowns wear a red nose.

Do mimes always perform solo?

While many do, mimes can also perform in groups or duos.

How long does it take to learn miming?

It varies, but mastering mime can take years of practice and dedication.

Do mimes always wear striped shirts?

No, while iconic, mimes can wear different outfits, but usually stick to simple attire.

Are there schools for clowning?

Yes, there are institutions dedicated to training individuals in clown arts.

Do mimes speak at all during a performance?

Traditional mime acts are silent, but modern interpretations might include minimal speech.

Is there a universal clown costume?

No, clown costumes vary widely, but often include bright colors and exaggerated features.

Can miming be a form of therapy?

Yes, some therapists use mime techniques to help patients express emotions.

Can a clown act be dramatic instead of comedic?

While rare, some clowns might incorporate drama into their acts.

Are there different types of clowns?

Absolutely, including comedic, whiteface, and rodeo clowns, among others.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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