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Classic vs Classical


  • ‘Classic’ (adj) refers to something that is judged to be very typical of its kind (e.g. ‘classic example’); also outstanding (e.g. ‘a classic novel’).
  • ‘Classical’ (adj) refers to something relating to the ancient Greek or Latin world or culture.

What’s the difference between ‘classic’ and ‘classical’?

These words can be easily confused due to their similarity, but mean entirely different things.

  • As an adjective relating to the culture of ancient Rome and Greece, ‘classical’ is most often found in History, History of Art, and artistic disciplines in general.
  • The word ‘classic’ can also be used in artistic contexts in the sense of ‘outstanding’ (as in a novel or music album), but in research texts, it usually means ‘typical’.

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How they’re used

Example sentences with ‘classic’

  • He described the classic mistakes companies make in innovation strategy.
  • It became a classic dystopian novel of the 20th century.

Example sentences with ‘classical’

  • The influence of classical antiquity on Islam is explored.
  • They were found to be the earliest classical references to the Celts.