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.



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 American English /ˈhɪst(ə)ri/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  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 toward 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.
      a checkered history (=in which both good and bad things have happened): an unusual building with a checkered history
      the history of Spain
      U.S./world/Western 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
      literary/archaeological history
      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 high 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 World War Two.
  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 town can trace its history back to the Gold Rush.




a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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