oral history


Definition of oral history 

1 : a recording containing information about the past obtained from in-depth interviews concerning personal experiences, recollections, and reflections also : the study of such information

2 : a written work based on oral history

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Other Words from oral history

oral historian noun

Examples of oral history in a Sentence

I'm reading an oral history of the Great Depression.

Recent Examples on the Web

Perham is home to the country’s only museum based entirely on the oral history of American veterans, and the Perham Center for the Arts, an art, music and theater venue, occupies the city’s century-old, former Saint Stanislaus Catholic Church. Laura Kiniry, Smithsonian, "The 20 Best Small Towns To Visit in 2018," 5 June 2018 Yet the oral history passed by family members says the 30-year-old man was hanged near the Black (Pugh's Mill) Covered Bridge near Ohio 732. Mark Curnutte, Cincinnati.com, "Lynched in Oxford: Descendant tries to reconcile official, family histories of 1892 killing," 30 Apr. 2018 Listen to Mei Lum’s interview about oral histories, local activism and the future of Chinatown on TRYTOBEGOOD, a cultural advocacy podcast. New York Times, "Things to Do in NYC: Astoria for a Pool Day, and Open-Mic Night Plus Dumplings in Chinatown," 12 July 2018 The center is partnering with Lambda Archives, a non-profit repository of books, newspaper clippings, oral histories, posters, artwork and other LGBT memorabilia that dates to the early 1970s. John Wilkens, sandiegouniontribune.com, "New History Center exhibit traces stories of struggle and progress in LGBT community," 8 July 2018 Clinton’s legislative affairs director Patrick Griffin says in his oral history that the price Democrats paid for it could not have been steeper. Neil Swidey, BostonGlobe.com, "How Democrats would be better off if Bill Clinton had never been president," 10 July 2018 This summer, Kansas City residents will have the opportunity to record their own oral histories and submit them to the Library of Congress. Hana Muslic, kansascity, "'Everyone has a story.' Through oral history project, those from KC can share theirs," 6 July 2018 Nine months later, Israel Gillette Jefferson also had his oral history set down. Andrew M. Davenport, Smithsonian, "Putting Enslaved Families’ Stories Back in the Monticello Narrative," 14 June 2018 Turgel recalled in an oral history for Shalom TV, a Jewish cable channel. kansascity, "In memoriam through June 15: Civil rights activist Dorothy Cotton, Neal Boyd of ‘AGT’," 15 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oral 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 oral history

1950, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near oral history

oral disc


oral groove

oral history

oral hood


oral law

Statistics for oral history

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for oral history

The first known use of oral history was in 1950

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More Definitions for oral history

oral history


English Language Learners Definition of oral history

: recorded information about the past that you get from talking to people about their experiences, families, etc.

: a book, article, etc., that is based on oral history

More from Merriam-Webster on oral history

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Comments on oral history

What made you want to look up oral history? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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