[hi-stawr-ee-uh n, -stohr-]


an expert in history; authority on history.
a writer of history; chronicler.

Origin of historian

1400–50; late Middle English. See history, -an
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for historian

Contemporary Examples of historian

Historical Examples of historian

  • And Shakspere has no desire or need to act the historian in the decision of that question.

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

  • Mr. Bancroft, the historian, delivered the Inaugural Address.

  • John Stow, the historian, worked at the trade during some part of his life.


    Samuel Smiles

  • The world seems to be waiting for the historian that can write.

    The Coryston Family

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

  • He had not been content to take up the position of onlooker and historian only.

    A Nest of Spies

    Pierre Souvestre

British Dictionary definitions for historian



a person who writes or studies history, esp one who is an authority on it
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for historian

mid-15c., from Middle French historien (14c.), from Latin historia (see history). As "writer of history in the higher sense" (distinguished from a mere annalist or chronicler), from 1530s. The Old English word was þeod-wita.

[T]he historian's fallacy is the error of assuming that a man who has a given historical experience knows it, when he has had it, to be all that a historian would know it to be, with the advantage of historical perspective. [David Hackett Fischer, "Historians' Fallacies," 1970]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper