I understand the word "import" meaning "to bring or carry in" from the Latin.

I have also read sources which say that the word "important" comes from "importare" meaning "being of consequence"

But how and why did the root word for "bring in" lead to a word meaning significant or being of consequence?

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    Welcome! Classical Latin did not know this sense of importans, m/f accusative importantem, but it arose in Medieval Latin, then through Old French taken into English. Basically it's carry, carry meaning/significance/consequence, carry a lot of meaning/signicance, consequence. – KarlG Sep 7 '18 at 15:53
  • Thank you, this is really useful! So my understanding is that the "bring" here could be intangible, similar to "bring to attention" or "carry weight". – Magrudas Sep 7 '18 at 16:24
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    Exactly. Just remember that semantic change occurred in Med. Latin, not English. – KarlG Sep 7 '18 at 18:59
  • @KarlG To quote MetaEd, Avoid answers in comments. They cannot be community edited or peer reviewed. And this discourages people from posting actual answers and defeats the core answer ranking process. A better place to post an answer is in the answer box. See: Privileges > Comment Everywhere – Help Center. See also: Is SE enforcing “no answers in comments”? – Meta – ssokolow Sep 15 '18 at 6:39

It seems the stem+prefix import already had the meaning of "care/attention" during the ages of Vulgar Latin. Compare Italian importare and French importer (to be important to, to have matter with). Both of them have totally lost the meaning of "bring in". However Italian importazione has the (original) meaning of "bring in".

There may be a change in Latin that caused the current state of mixed meaning (both "to carry/bring in" and "have significance"). Then it's a Latin question rather than an English question.

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