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In the video NASA Administrator Bridenstine Chats with Elon Musk of SpaceX Bridenstine uses "very historic" three times out of four times near the beginning of the video:

Question: Can something be "very historic"? If so, under what circumstances would its usage be appropriate?


This is a little amusing as it parallels an episode of an old ("historic?") US television show where the character of the president reads a NASA-prepared statement and then critiques it. Starting just after 02:36 in The West Wing - Galileo V:

(President reading teleprompter:) Good morning I ‘m speaking to you live from the west wing of the Whitehouse. Today we have a very unique opportunity to take part live, in an extremely historic event which… whoa, boy!

(Critiquing the statement to the NASA writer:) Unique means one of a kind, something can’t be very unique nor can it be extremely historic.

  • There may be other appropriate tags. – uhoh Mar 20 at 6:29
  • It's perfectly valid. It implies something of great historic significance. – Hot Licks Mar 20 at 12:35
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Although Google search on "very historic" comes up with about 500K result, almost all seem colloquial (like how it's used in the video) and travel-related usage (as in "a very historic building").

Personally I would instead say "...but a historically significant monument..." (at 00:35). Indeed, "historical significance" yielded 5 million results in Google. It sounds more academic, cultured, and thoughtful.

"Historic moment" / "record breaking" is also appropriate to mark a significant day, as well as "medical/engineering breakthrough" to describe research-related significant advances.

In my opinion, all are better alternatives than "very historic".

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