Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

history - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun     history pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [uncountable] the whole of time before the present, and all things that happened in that time
    in recorded history:

    These temperatures are the highest in recorded history.

    throughout history:

    Attitudes to gender roles have changed throughout history.

    recent history:

    No other band in recent history has sold as many concert tickets.

    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      [singular/uncountable] the things that have happened in a particular place or to a particular group of people

      I’m writing a book on this area’s history.

      The University has a distinguished history.

      the history of Spain

      world/Western history

      a chequered history (=in which both good and bad things have happened):

      an unusual building with a chequered history

      Synonyms and related words
    2. b.
      [countable/uncountable] all the things that a particular person has done or experienced

      I feel like a part of my history has been taken away.

      medical history:

      It’s important to consider a child’s medical history.

    3. c.
      [singular/uncountable] the way that a particular subject or object has developed or changed throughout its existence

      the history of economic thought

      a landmark in the history of something:

      This book was a landmark in the history of English fiction.

  2. 2
    [uncountable] the study of the events of the past

    He teaches history at the local school.

    history books

  3. 3
    [countable] an account of the events that happened during a particular period of the past
    history of:

    a history of the Romans

    The book provides a comprehensive history of the Second World War.

  4. 4
    [countable/uncountable] the length of time that something has existed

    For the first time in its 70-year history the club has admitted women members.

    trace something’s history (=follow or describe something’s past, back to a particular time):

    The village can trace its history back to 1078.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter


to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play