Usage and Grammar

Q. The use of historic with landmarks, buildings, and districts is common. I’m confused by this when the entity is not a site where something historically important occurred, but is rather just old. Examples: historic Grand Canyon village, historic landmark status, National Register of Historic Places.

A. A dictionary is a great place to check a word meaning. According to Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary, the word historic does sometimes mean “just old” (“dating from or preserved from a past time or culture <historic buildings> <historic artifacts>”).