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


annals, chronicle, record

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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

Banks made history in 1997 as the first African-American solo cover model. Fawnia Soo Hoo, Glamour, "These Women Have Spent Hundreds of Hours in Swimsuits. Here Are Their Tips for Getting the Perfect Fit.," 21 May 2019 Relocating his pitches Toronto pitcher Edwin Jackson made history by playing for his14th major-league team. Dwight Perry / Sideline Chatter, The Seattle Times, "Sideline Chatter: But as Mars Blackmon taught us, ‘It’s gotta be the shoes’," 18 May 2019 In 2004, Bruce Krall made history for the first town purchase on eBay for $700,00. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "Tired of Your One-Bedroom? You Can Own This Entire Town For Less Than A U.S. Home," 17 May 2019 At just two days old, Baby Sussex has already made history. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Pose for First Photos of the Royal Baby," 8 May 2019 Later tonight, a spacecraft over 200 million miles away will make history by blowing up an asteroid—or, part of one, anyway. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Watch the Hayabusa Spacecraft Blow Up an Asteroid Tonight," 4 Apr. 2019 Numerous variables could impact a lithium-ion battery's susceptibility to such runaway, including its charge/discharge history, age, the ambient conditions it's been exposed to, and more. Alexander Stoklosa, Car and Driver, "Tesla Fires Spur Software Update, but Here's Why You Needn't Panic," 16 May 2019 Using objects from space to study Earth's early history, two scientists have taken the first-ever measurements of water contained in samples from the surface of an asteroid. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "What Finding Water on an Ancient Asteroid Means for Life on Earth," 2 May 2019 Safe to say Charlize Theron is a big deal: Her IMDb history spans from rom-coms like her new movie, Long Shot, to serious dramas like Monster and action hits like Mad Max: Fury Road and Atomic Blonde—and she's won an Oscar (for Monster) to boot. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Casting Directors Wanted Charlize Theron in Wonder Woman—as Wonder Woman's Mom," 4 May 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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Statistics for history

Last Updated

4 Jun 2019

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 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

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).


showing great care, attention, and effort

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