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

In this history of the sport, Richard Petty owns the greatest single-season performance with 27 wins in 48 races during the 1967 season. Jason Hoffman, Cincinnati.com, "XFinity Series driver Daniel Hemric chasing perfection at Kentucky Speedway," 12 July 2018 That has never happened before in the history of the World Cup. SI.com, "Why England's World Cup Campaign Wasn't the Heroic Overachievment the Hype Would Have You Believe," 12 July 2018 The history of mental health repercussions for veterans’ family members is long, advocates say. courant.com, "Veterans’ Families Also Suffer From The Wounds Of War," 12 July 2018 What the world won’t see is a Sunday rematch of Federer and Rafael Nadal, who 10 years ago played in a Wimbledon final widely considered the best match in the history of the sport. Sam Farmer, latimes.com, "Roger Federer's Wimbledon streak comes to an end with five-set loss to Kevin Anderson," 11 July 2018 For the first time in the history of The Handmaid’s Tale, June and Serena see each other. refinery29.com, "The Handmaid's Tale Recap Season 2, Episode 13: The Martha Express," 11 July 2018 He’s published multiple papers on the history of the hoagie. Mike Newall, Philly.com, "How the Hoagie Historian is fighting to save Philly's beleaguered History Museum | Mike Newall," 11 July 2018 Certainly, in the history of bad marketing, their work has surpassed New Coke, and DeanFredo sending his sons to the Inglewood site in hard hats only adds to the legend. Nick Canepa, sandiegouniontribune.com, "King James’ arrival in L.A. puts Bolts further down line," 9 July 2018 This unsavory history was on many people's minds when Theresa May revealed, during her first visit to Washington following the inauguration, that Donald Trump had accepted the Queen's invitation to Britain. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "A Brief History of Donald Trump’s Controversial Interactions with the British Royal Family," 9 July 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

8 Oct 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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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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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