Definition for HIS'TO-RY

HIS'TO-RY, n. [Gr. ἱστορια; L. Sp. and Port. historia; It. istoria; Fr. histoire; Ir. sdair, stair; Sax. stair, ster, probably from the Latin; W. ysdori, history, matter of record, what is of concern or in mind, from ysdawr, an object of care or concern, from dawr, to care, to be concerned, to regard. The Greek ἱστωρ signifies knowing, learned, and ἱστορεω is rendered to inquire, to explore, to learn by inspection or inquiry. This would seem to be connected with W. ystyriaw, to consider, to regard or take notice. History and story are the same word differently written.]

  1. An account of facts, particularly of facts respecting nations or states; a narration of events in the order in which they happened, with their causes and effects. History differs from annals. Annals relate simply the facts and events of each year, in strict chronological order, without any observations of the annalist. History regards less strictly the arrangement of events under each year, and admits the observations of the writer. This distinction however is not always regarded with strictness. History is of different kinds, or treats of different subjects; as, a history of government, or political history; history of the Christian church, or ecclesiastical history; history of war and conquests, or military history; history of law; history of commerce; history of the crusades, &c. In these and similar examples, history is written narrative or relation. What is the history of nations, but a narrative of the follies, crimes and miseries of man?
  2. Narration; verbal relation of facts or events; story. We listen with pleasure to the soldier or the seaman, giving a history of his adventures. What histories of toil could I declare? Pope.
  3. Knowledge of facts and events. History – is necessary to divines. Watts.
  4. Description; an account of things that exist; as, natural history, which comprehends a description of the works of nature, particularly of animals, plants and minerals; a history of animals, or zoology; a history of plants.
  5. An account of the origin, life and actions of an individual person. We say, we have a concise history of the prisoner in the testimony offered to the court. A formal written account of an individual's life, is called biography.

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