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 in answering the call of history, his presence unwittingly stifled the rest of the team. Los Angeles Times, "Column: No cheering in the press box? Kobe turning Mamba changed that," 12 Apr. 2021 Shaffer is professor emeritus of history at Cal Poly Pomona. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Commentary: High school sports return. How come performing arts can’t do the same?," 11 Apr. 2021 The Reds, who set a franchise record for most runs in the first eight games of the season, avoided making a different type of history. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, "'We just got beat': Cincinnati Reds avoid no-hitter, but shut out in loss to Diamondbacks," 11 Apr. 2021 Those lucky enough to be a part of history were treated to a 2-1 Thorns victory in an entertaining and testy match that featured 19 fouls, 14 shots, an NWSL-record four red cards and one near-fight. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "After ‘long, wild’ year away, fans return to professional sports in Portland," 10 Apr. 2021 The attorney asked that his mental condition and lack of criminal history be taken into consideration. Rosemary Sobol, chicagotribune.com, "Prosecutors: Neighbor of man charged with murder reported ‘eerie silence’ following fight and hearing roommate plead, ‘Stop, Anton! ... Drop it.’," 9 Apr. 2021 Still there's a starkness in its telling that feels entirely honest, and necessary: an indubitably human tale plucked from the worst of recent history and transformed into art. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "Queer apartheid drama Moffie leaves a mark: Review," 9 Apr. 2021 Democratic strategist Katie Merrill expects this tortured bit of California history to be repeated. Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, "Caitlyn Jenner is no Arnold Schwarzenegger. And she's no threat to Newsom," 9 Apr. 2021 Shaped by mythology, astrology and society over the long course of history, this festival is the largest religious gathering of its kind in the world. Tulasi Srinivas, The Conversation, "India prepares for Kumbh Mela, world’s largest religious gathering, amid COVID-19 fears," 8 Apr. 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

15 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“History.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/history. Accessed 21 Apr. 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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Comments on history

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