history

noun

his·​to·​ry ˈhi-st(ə-)rē How to pronounce history (audio)
plural histories
1
: tale, story
2
a
: 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
4
a
: 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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Jennifer Levasseur, space history curator, National Air and Space Museum Q: Does the Smithsonian have a plan to protect its treasures in case of a disaster? Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Dec. 2022 The visual then tracks through the cotton plants of America’s racial history. Sarah Bahr, New York Times, 27 Nov. 2022 Nonetheless, de la tierra played a critical role in feminist literary history as a bridge between those early intersectional forays and our modern era (when representation is greater — but often at the cost of assimilation). Christopher Soto, Los Angeles Times, 27 Nov. 2022 Polk County officials say Holder has a criminal history that includes battery on a law enforcement officer and battery on an officer/firefighter. Pilar Arias, Fox News, 27 Nov. 2022 Ruffolo won a media vote Saturday on the strength of a perfect night — 4 for 4 field goals, 2 for 2 extra points — to become the first kicker to win the 12-game history of the award. Brett Dawson, The Courier-Journal, 27 Nov. 2022 The Ramona Unified School District board is seeking two community representatives to provide input concerning potential history/social science curriculum materials. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Nov. 2022 Part of a continuing weekly series on Alaska history by local historian David Reamer. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Nov. 2022 Pumpkin pie has a fraught history, however enticing the result. Richard Galant, CNN, 27 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of history was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near history

Cite this Entry

“History.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/history. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

history

noun

his·​to·​ry ˈhis-t(ə-)rē How to pronounce history (audio)
plural histories
1
: a story of real or imaginary events
2
a
: a written record of important events and their causes
b
: a branch of knowledge that records and explains past events
c
: events that form the topics of a history

Medical Definition

history

noun

his·​to·​ry ˈhis-t(ə-)rē How to pronounce history (audio)
plural histories
: an account of a patient's family and personal background and past and present health

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