Meaning of HISTORY in English

his ‧ to ‧ ry S2 W1 /ˈhɪst ə ri/ BrE AmE noun ( plural histories )

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ historian , ↑ history , ↑ prehistory ; adjective : ↑ historic , ↑ prehistoric , ↑ historical ; adverb : ↑ historically ]

[ Date: 1400-1500 ; Language: Latin ; Origin: historia , from Greek , from histor 'knowing, learned' ]

1 . PAST EVENTS [uncountable] all the things that happened in the past, especially the political, social, or economic development of a nation:

Throughout history the achievements of women have been largely ignored.

history of

the post-war history of Europe

No man in recent history has done more to rebuild the Democratic Party.

the early history of Scotland

Other meteor storms have occurred in recorded history.

a museum devoted to local history

one of the darkest episodes in American history

an interesting period in Egyptian history

a decision that changed the course of history

a college steeped in history

History shows that the usual response to violent protest is repression.

2 . DEVELOPMENT OF SOMETHING [singular, uncountable] the events that took place from the beginning and during the development of a particular place, activity, institution etc

history of

the worst disaster in the history of space travel

long/brief/75-year etc history

The 1970s were the most successful in the theater’s long history.

3 . SUBJECT [uncountable] the study of past events as a subject in school or university

European/art/economic etc history

a degree in European history

ancient/modern history

a history lesson

4 . ACCOUNT [countable] an account of past events

history of

a history of World War II

a potted history (=very short) of Gielgud’s life (BrE)

5 . PAST LIFE [uncountable and countable] a record of something that has affected someone or been done by them in the past

medical/employment/career etc history

Your doctor will ask for your medical history.

history of

Is there any history of heart disease in your family?

The defendant had a history of violent assaults on women.

6 . make history to do something important that will be recorded and remembered:

Lindbergh made history when he flew across the Atlantic.

7 . something will go down in history used to say that something is important enough to be remembered and recorded:

This day will go down in history as the start of a new era in South Africa.

8 . history repeats itself used to say that things often happen in the same way as they did before

9 . the history books the record of past events:

Mozart’s genius earned him a place in the history books.

10 . ... and the rest is history informal used to say that everyone knows the rest of a story you have been telling

11 . that’s (past/ancient) history spoken informal used to say that something is not important any more

⇨ ↑ natural history , ↑ case history

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meanings 1 & 2)

■ adjectives

▪ recent/modern/contemporary history

The country’s recent history is powerfully told in this film.

▪ early/ancient history

He had studied ancient Roman history.

▪ recorded history (=history since people have written things down)

These were the worst floods in recorded history.

▪ local history (=the history of events in a particular local area)

The building is now a museum of local history.

▪ American/Chinese/British etc history

It was one of the worst peacetime disasters in American history.

▪ human history (=the history of people rather than the world itself)

World War I was the most destructive war in human history up to that time.

▪ political/social etc history

the political history of Germany

▪ oral history (=history that is told by speaking and that often consists of personal memories)

Smith recorded the conversation for oral history.

▪ rich history (=an interesting and important history)

Greece has a very rich history.

▪ long history

The 1970s were the most successful in the theatre's long history.

■ verbs

▪ history shows/tells (that)

History shows that the usual response to violent protests is repression.

▪ go down in history (=be remembered for many years)

She will go down in history as one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

▪ make history (=do something important that will be recorded and remembered)

Ordinary Berliners made history when they tore down the wall.

▪ rewrite history (=change what we believe are the facts about the past)

They're trying to rewrite history to exaggerate their role in the war.

▪ trace the history of something (=find out what the history of something is)

James traces the history of modern cricket back to its beginnings in the late 1700s.

▪ shape history (=influence events that are recorded)

He is one of the politicians who shaped 20th century history.

■ phrases

▪ a period of/in history

a glorious period in English history

▪ the first time in history (=the first time something has ever happened)

For the first time in history, an American president resigned his office.

▪ change the course of history (=do something that has many important effects)

Roosevelt and Churchill helped to change the course of history.

▪ be steeped in history (=be closely connected with important events in history)

Cambridge is steeped in history and tradition.

▪ consign something to the dustbin of history (=to forget about something that existed in the past – used especially when saying that you will feel glad when people have got rid of something)

One day nuclear weapons will be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.