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 Fast-forward to 2020: Sunday’s game in Madison Square Garden, with a spot in the Final Four at stake, opened with the Blue Devils seemingly dropping all of that history atop the Terps’ heads. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, "The 2020 NCAA tournament that could have been: Michigan State bound for Atlanta?," 22 Mar. 2020 If history and market fundamentals are any measure, the U.S. will emerge stronger and continue to provide necessary energy leadership to continue to meet the world’s long-term demand for natural gas and oil. Mike Sommers, Fortune, "Why the U.S. oil and natural gas industry doesn’t want tariffs right now," 22 Mar. 2020 Heath clearly knows a thing or two about Alaska’s Native and environmental histories and is sympathetic to both indigenous rights and conservation. Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News, "Something to read while hunkering down: This political thriller set in a familiar Juneau," 22 Mar. 2020 Actions taken now, or inaction, will reverberate in the weeks, months and years to come, said Robert S. Smith, a history professor and director of the Center for Urban Research at Marquette University. Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Coronavirus will affect everyone, even if you never get sick. But some people will be hit harder than others.," 20 Mar. 2020 Sanders’s history represents a kind of political capital that will be hard for his successors to capture. Libby Watson, The New Republic, "The Left Is Bigger Than Bernie Sanders," 20 Mar. 2020 Craig Hlavaty covers Houston history and pop-culture. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Uniquely Texas rites of passage for all little Texans," 20 Mar. 2020 The flagship church of the Southern Baptist Convention, where the late Evangelist Billy Graham was a member for 54 years, will not meet in person for the first time in the church's 152-year history. Fox News, "Pastor Robert Jeffress on importance of faith amid coronavirus: 'People need hope'," 20 Mar. 2020 One of the most iconic moments in ’90s pop culture history came when the performed at the 1997 Brit Awards. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Ginger Spice on the Story Behind Her Iconic Union Jack Dress," 19 Mar. 2020

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

25 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“History.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/history. Accessed 8 Apr. 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

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