Meaning of “important” in the English Dictionary

"important" in British English

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uk /ɪmˈpɔː.tənt/ us /ɪmˈpɔːr.tənt/

A1 necessary or of great value:

I think his career is more important to him than I am.
It's important for children to learn to get on with each other.
The important thing is to keep the heat low or the sugar will burn.
He's not amazingly handsome, but he's nice and that's more important.

B1 having great effect or influence:

He was one of the most important writers of that period.
an important person/decision

More examples

  • I've lost a file containing a lot of important documents.
  • It's important for children to get a good education.
  • He always leaves important decisions to his wife.
  • I have to be in London on Friday for an important meeting.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables form an important part of a healthy diet.
adverb uk /ɪmˈpɔː.tə us /ɪmˈpɔːr.tə


  • The new computer facilities will be a huge benefit to the school and also, importantly, to the whole village community.
  • I go to my exercise class for the fun and social side of it and, most importantly I suppose, for my health.
  • You must wear your seat belt because it's the law, but most importantly because it could save your life.
  • Dave is still very shy. Importantly, though, he can stand up for himself when he needs to.
  • He's a sensible and reliable team player but, more importantly, he usually seems to score vital match-winning goals.


If we served more soft drinks, there would be fewer hangovers and, more importantly, fewer drink-driving incidents.

(Definition of “important” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"important" in American English

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us /ɪmˈpɔr·tənt/

of great value, meaning, or effect:

an important discovery
[ + that clause ] It’s important that you tell the doctor all your symptoms.

Important also means having great influence:

an important modern artist
noun [ U ] us /ɪmˈpɔr·təns/

He stressed the importance of fruits and vegetables in the diet.
adverb us /ɪmˈpɔr·tənt·li/

She has a pleasant personality, but more importantly, she is well qualified for the job.

(Definition of “important” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)