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[his-tuh-ree, his-tree] /ˈhɪs tə ri, ˈhɪs tri/
noun, plural histories.
the branch of knowledge dealing with past events.
a continuous, systematic narrative of past events as relating to a particular people, country, period, person, etc., usually written as a chronological account; chronicle:
a history of France; a medical history of the patient.
the aggregate of past events.
the record of past events and times, especially in connection with the human race.
a past notable for its important, unusual, or interesting events:
a ship with a history.
acts, ideas, or events that will or can shape the course of the future; immediate but significant happenings:
Firsthand observers of our space program see history in the making.
a systematic account of any set of natural phenomena without particular reference to time:
a history of the American eagle.
a drama representing historical events:
Shakespeare's comedies, histories, and tragedies.
Origin of history
1350-1400; Middle English historie < Latin historia < Greek historía learning or knowing by inquiry, history; derivative of hístōr one who knows or sees (akin to wit2, video, Veda )
Related forms
underhistory, noun, plural underhistories.
unhistory, noun, plural unhistories.
2. record, annals. See narrative. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for history
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Even when they did pick out novels, they were just as tough as the history books.

  • The history of Man is the record of a hungry creature in search of food.

    Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon
  • If I have, I shall be well paid for writing the history of Bertie and his friends.

    Bertie and the Gardeners Madeline Leslie
  • This is a record and result that no careful student of our history will, I take it, deny.

    'Tis Sixty Years Since Charles Francis Adams
  • The history of the great majority is never compiled for reference.

    A Circuit Rider's Wife Corra Harris
British Dictionary definitions for history


/ˈhɪstərɪ; ˈhɪstrɪ/
noun (pl) -ries
  1. a record or account, often chronological in approach, of past events, developments, etc
  2. (as modifier): a history book, a history play
all that is preserved or remembered of the past, esp in written form
the discipline of recording and interpreting past events involving human beings
past events, esp when considered as an aggregate
an event in the past, esp one that has been forgotten or reduced in importance: their quarrel was just history
the past, background, previous experiences, etc, of a thing or person: the house had a strange history
(computing) a stored list of the websites that a user has recently visited
a play that depicts or is based on historical events
a narrative relating the events of a character's life: the history of Joseph Andrews
Abbreviation (for senses 1–3) hist
Word Origin
C15: from Latin historia, from Greek: enquiry, from historein to narrate, from histōr judge
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for history

late 14c., "relation of incidents" (true or false), from Old French estoire, estorie "chronicle, history, story" (12c., Modern French histoire), from Latin historia "narrative of past events, account, tale, story," from Greek historia "a learning or knowing by inquiry; an account of one's inquiries, history, record, narrative," from historein "inquire," from histor "wise man, judge," from PIE *wid-tor-, from root *weid- "to know," literally "to see" (see vision).

Related to Greek idein "to see," and to eidenai "to know." In Middle English, not differentiated from story; sense of "record of past events" probably first attested late 15c. As a branch of knowledge, from 1842. Sense of "systematic account (without reference to time) of a set of natural phenomena" (1560s) is now obsolete except in natural history.

One difference between history and imaginative literature ... is that history neither anticipates nor satisfies our curiosity, whereas literature does. [Guy Davenport, "Wheel Ruts," 1996]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for history



Finished; done with; hist: It's been history, I'd say, four months (1980s+ Students)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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history in Technology

1. A record of previous user inputs (e.g. to a command interpreter) which can be re-entered without re-typing them. The major improvement of the C shell (csh) over the Bourne shell (sh) was the addition of a command history. This was still inferior to the history mechanism on VMS which allowed you to recall previous commands as the current input line. You could then edit the command using cursor motion, insert and delete. These sort of history editing facilities are available under tcsh and GNU Emacs.
2. The history of computing (
3. See Usenet newsgroups news:soc.history and news:alt.history for discussion of the history of the world.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Idioms and Phrases with history
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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