n. pl. his·to·ries
a. A chronological record of events, as of the life or development of a people or institution, often including an explanation of or commentary on those events: a history of the Vikings.
b. A formal written account of related natural phenomena: a history of volcanoes.
c. A record of a patient's general medical background: took the patient's history.
d. An established condition or pattern of behavior: an inmate with a history of mental illness and drug abuse.
2. The branch of knowledge that records and analyzes past events: "History has a long-range perspective" (Elizabeth Gurley Flynn).
a. The past events relating to a particular thing: The history of their rivalry is full of intrigue.
b. The aggregate of past events or human affairs: basic tools used throughout history.
c. An interesting past: a house with history.
d. Something that belongs to the past: Their troubles are history now.
e. Slang One that is no longer worth consideration: Why should we worry about him? He's history!
4. A drama based on historical events: the histories of Shakespeare.
[Middle English histoire, from Old French, from Latin historia, from Greek historiā, from historein, to inquire, from histōr, learned man; see weid- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.