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.
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
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
a history lesson
4 . ACCOUNT [countable] an account of past events
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.
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)
▪ 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.
▪ 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.
▪ 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.