Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


the whole of time before the present, and all the things that happened in that time

the study of the events of the past

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary

Origin and usage

The noun history comes from the Latin word ‘historia’ which has multiple meanings, including ‘a written account of past events’. It has been used since the time of Old English.


October is Black History Month in the UK (in the US it’s celebrated in February). This annual opportunity to focus on the history of black people has been going since the 1970s, but has grown greatly in scope over recent years, with increasing attention being paid to British history specifically. The start of this year’s event, which includes a wide range of events and projects across the country, was marked by an official video from the Prime Minister. History has a range of meanings; you can explore them here. History forms part of numerous compound nouns, such as natural history, case history and oral history, as well as many idiomatic expressions; you can find out more about these by clicking on the links in the box at the side of the entry. History is also an entry in our Collocations Dictionary. You can find that entry here.


In the 1980s, everyone in Britain, including black people themselves, knew less about black British history than we do today.
(David Olusoga)

We are not makers of history. We are made by history.
(Martin Luther King Jr)

Related words

ancient history, genealogy, postcolonialism, prehistory

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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