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 Four years later, the Trump administration announced plans to open up most of the rest, in what would be the largest expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling in U.S. history. Joan Meiners, ProPublica, "How Oil Companies Avoided Environmental Accountability After 10.8 Million Gallons Spilled," 28 Dec. 2019 Trump is only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. NBC News, "Trump impeachment: Live updates and the latest news," 28 Dec. 2019 The precipitating cause of the catastrophe, the worst nuclear disaster in U.S. history, was the malfunction of a pipe meant to pump water into one of the plant’s two reactors to keep it from overheating. Fortune, "These Books Will Help You Understand the Relationship Between Human and Machine," 28 Dec. 2019 The Saturday before Christmas was the busiest shopping day in U.S. history, surpassing Black Friday, according to research firm Customer Growth Partners. Arkansas Online, "Online sales make up a larger portion of overall sales again," 27 Dec. 2019 Three hurricanes in 2017 are among the five costliest weather and climate disasters in U.S. history. USA Today, "A decade of change from 300 miles above Earth," 27 Dec. 2019 In October 2019, Cuyahoga and Summit counties settled with drug companies for $260 million in part of one of the most complex sets of litigation in U.S. history. Mary Kilpatrick, cleveland, "Tamir Rice shot dead, Cavs win it all: Biggest stories of the 2010s," 27 Dec. 2019 For the second, students and activists converged on Washington for the largest demonstration ever against the war and, for that matter, still the largest political rally in U.S. history. James G. Hershberg, Washington Post, "From an American soldier in Vietnam, tragedy and poetry," 27 Dec. 2019 The purge came after Georgia canceled 534,119 registrations in July 2017, the largest single removal of voters in U.S. history. Stephanie Toone, ajc, "Jimmy Carter’s comebacks: Top 9 Georgia stories of 2019," 26 Dec. 2019

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

31 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“History.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/history. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for history


How to pronounce history (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on history

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for history

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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