Quick Tip 12: Insignficant vs. Nonsignificant

Do you know the difference between “insignificant” and “nonsignificant”?

“Insignificant” means “unimportant”, but “nonsignificant” refers to statistical significance. Something is nonsignificant if it isn’t statistically significant.

Here’s an example of each from different papers in the the New England Journal of Medicine.

Example One:

“DNA assays can detect clinically insignificant infections”

This means that the infections didn’t harm patients. The infections were insignificant or didn’t matter.

Example Two:

“there was a nonsignificant trend toward an increased risk of cardiovascular death”

This means that there appeared to be increased risk, but it wasn’t statistically significant.