his·​to·​ry | \ ˈhi-st(ə-)rē How to pronounce history (audio) \
plural histories

Definition of history

1 : tale, story
2a : a chronological record of significant events (such as those affecting a nation or institution) often including an explanation of their causes a history of Japan
b : a treatise presenting systematically related natural phenomena (as of geography, animals, or plants) an illustrated history of North American birds
c : an account of a patient's medical background reviewing her medical history
d : an established record a prisoner with a history of violence
3 : a branch of knowledge that records and explains past events medieval history
4a : events that form the subject matter of a history the history of space exploration
b : events of the past History has shown that such efforts rarely succeed.
c : one that is finished or done for the winning streak was history you're history
d : previous treatment, handling, or experience (as of a metal) a history of repeated exposure to freezing temperatures

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Synonyms for history


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Examples of history in a Sentence

I studied history in college. a professor of medieval history They were one of the greatest teams in history. It was one of the most destructive storms in modern history. It was a period in American history when most people lived and worked on farms. The history of space exploration is a fascinating topic. He wrote a well-known history of the British empire. The book begins with a brief history of the Internet.
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Recent Examples on the Web But over the course of the planet’s history, the direction of its magnetic field has shifted. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Did an Ancient Magnetic Field Reversal Cause Chaos for Life on Earth 42,000 Years Ago?," 24 Feb. 2021 The Riviera name first appeared on a special 1949 Roadmaster that made the history books as the first hardtop coupe, providing an open greenhouse with no B-pillar. Csaba Csere, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1995 Buick Riviera Goes beyond Bold Design," 23 Feb. 2021 With the Preds’ victory over Columbus on Saturday, Pekka Rinne became the winningest goalie in NHL history against the Blue Jackets, with 22 wins against the franchise. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, "NHL Central Division Misery Index: Red Wings, Predators are perfectly, miserably matched," 23 Feb. 2021 While arguments could be made for dozens, if not hundreds, of songs as being crucial to the company’s rich history, here’s a selection of five key Stax sides. USA Today, "Five essential Stax Records recordings, including Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes," 23 Feb. 2021 This history was not the top thing on the minds of the millions of Texans — at least 4.3 million at one point — who were without electricity this past week. Asher Price, USA TODAY, "Texas politicians saw electricity deregulation as a better future. Years later, millions lost power.," 23 Feb. 2021 Steve Garvey provides the most memorable moment in San Diego sports history with ninth-inning homer off Cubs closer Lee Smith that delivers a 7-5 victory in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series. Bill Center, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego Stadium farewell: Multipurpose facility hosted thousands of events," 23 Feb. 2021 His thinking produced Thacher & Rye, which combines the name of his son with Maryland’s history of making spirits. Washington Post, "Tom Sietsema’s 8 favorite places to eat right now," 23 Feb. 2021 Should Make Solar Panels' Are Haaland’s positions and opinions based on sound science and history? Paul Gessing, National Review, "Deb Haaland Could Be a Disaster at Interior," 23 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'history.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of history

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for history

Middle English histoire, historie, from Anglo-French estoire, histoire, from Latin historia, from Greek, inquiry, history, from histōr, istōr knowing, learned; akin to Greek eidenai to know — more at wit

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Time Traveler for history

Time Traveler

The first known use of history was in the 14th century

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Statistics for history

Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“History.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/history. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for history



English Language Learners Definition of history

: the study of past events
: events of the past
: past events that relate to a particular subject, place, organization, etc.


his·​to·​ry | \ ˈhi-stə-rē How to pronounce history (audio) \
plural histories

Kids Definition of history

1 : events of the past and especially those relating to a particular place or subject European history
2 : a branch of knowledge that records and explains past events
3 : a written report of past events She wrote a history of the Internet.
4 : an established record of past events His criminal history is well-known.


his·​to·​ry | \ ˈhis-t(ə-)rē How to pronounce history (audio) \
plural histories

Medical Definition of history

: an account of a patient's family and personal background and past and present health

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