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History was borrowed from Latin (possibly via Old Irish or Old Welsh) into Old English as stær ('history, narrative, story'), but this word fell out of use in the late Old English period.

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is attested early on in Homeric Hymns, Heraclitus, the Athenian ephebes' oath, and in Boiotic inscriptions (in a legal sense, either "judge" or "witness", or similar).

The Greek word was borrowed into Classical Latin as historia, meaning "investigation, inquiry, research, account, description, written account of past events, writing of history, historical narrative, recorded knowledge of past events, story, narrative".

Events occurring before written record are considered prehistory.

It is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events.

In the words of Benedetto Croce, "All history is contemporary history".

History is facilitated by the formation of a "true discourse of past" through the production of narrative and analysis of past events relating to the human race.

The adjective historical is attested from 1661, and historic from 1669.

Historian in the sense of a "researcher of history" is attested from 1531.

Scholars who write about history are called historians.

History can also refer to the academic discipline which uses a narrative to examine and analyse a sequence of past events, and objectively determine the patterns of cause and effect that determine them.

Archaeology is a discipline that is especially helpful in dealing with buried sites and objects, which, once unearthed, contribute to the study of history. It uses narrative sources to complement its discoveries.

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