his·​to·​ry | \ˈhi-st(ə-)rē \
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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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

The numbers don’t lie: The Canadians are the best neighbors in the history of the world. Joe Queenan, WSJ, "We Can All Be Thankful America Doesn’t Have Putin," 24 Nov. 2018 In the history of science, arguably nothing has been searched for more, through both space and time, than the magnetic monopole. Adam Hadhazy, Discover Magazine, "Scientists Hunt for A Seeming Paradox: A Magnet With Only One Pole," 13 Nov. 2018 Finally, Microsoft also plans to add a Windows status update and will provide regular updates on the Windows 10 update history page. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft re-releases the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, admitting its testing needs to improve," 13 Nov. 2018 Why has there been three in the history of your publication? Olivia Fleming, Harper's BAZAAR, "What Precious Lee and Candice Huffine Really Think of Fashion’s Diversity Problem," 29 Oct. 2018 The Silos have a rich history, marking the duo's beginning, and the company's already thinking of its next chapter, Chip shared with the Waco Tribune-Herald. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "All The Details About Magnolia's New Headquarters," 15 Oct. 2018 The Justice Department defended the legality of Mr. Whitaker’s appointment on Wednesday, issuing a legal opinion saying that U.S. presidents throughout history had installed officials as temporary cabinet members without Senate approval. Vivian Salama, WSJ, "Trump Castigates Mueller Investigation as ‘Disgrace to Nation’," 15 Nov. 2018 Those risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, a cigarette smoking habit, being overweight or obese, a lack of exercise, being over 55 for women (this drops to 45 for men), and having a family history of the disease. Cassie Shortsleeve, SELF, "Is Your Chest Pain Physical or Mental?," 14 Nov. 2018 November will undoubtedly be a race about stabilizing the state’s financial situation and breaking its long history of corrupt leadership (four of the past ten governors have ended up in prison). Tara Golshan, Vox.com, "Illinois results for every midterm race," 8 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for history

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for history

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

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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 \
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 \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on history

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with history

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for history

Spanish Central: Translation of history

Nglish: Translation of history for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of history for Arabic Speakers

Comments on history

What made you want to look up history? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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