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

The Patriots have a long history of acquiring former foes via trade or free agency after being impressed with their performances during the game-like situations that often occur during joint practices. Jim Mcbride, BostonGlobe.com, "With #WinWithWynnWednesday, Isaiah Wynn a study in the power of positive thinking," 13 July 2019 Even a company like Red Wing—with a long history of U.S. production, private ownership and control over a key raw material and distribution—makes more than two-thirds of its shoes abroad. Ruth Simon, WSJ, "Red Wing, Iconic U.S. Shoe Maker, Labors Mightily to Bring Production Home," 12 July 2019 Columbus Crew SC's Mapfre Stadium has a long history of hosting prominent U.S. Soccer matches and Cleveland's FirstEnergy Stadium, home to the NFL's Browns franchise, has also been utilized for multiple matches in recent years. Pat Brennan, Cincinnati.com, "Is the United States women's national team's 'victory tour' coming to Cincinnati?," 12 July 2019 Dawson, who has a swastika tattoo on his body, has a long history of convictions for theft, drugs and burglary, according to state records. Christopher Harress | Charress@al.com, al.com, "Alabama inmate with swastika tattoo escapes from Baldwin County work release," 11 July 2019 The decision comes amid fresh fears about far-right extremism in Germany following the arrest last month of a man with a long history of neo-Nazi activity over the killing of a regional politician from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party. Washington Post, "Germany to step up surveillance of far-right ‘Identitarians’," 11 July 2019 Samsung’s long history of including a 3.5mm headphone jack in its flagship phones is about to come to an end. Chris Welch, The Verge, "FCC photos confirm Galaxy Note 10 won’t have a headphone jack," 11 July 2019 The company — whose facilities across the country have a long and troubled history — has since changed its name to Bellwether Behavioral Trade. Talia Richman, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland attorney general sues provider of services for disabled students, alleging ‘Dickensian’ conditions," 10 July 2019 Texas recipients Companies that run private prisons have a long history of making campaign donations. Dallas News, "Texans Cornyn, Cuellar among top recipients of campaign donations from private detention company PAC," 10 July 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

16 Jul 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).


something desired as essential

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