Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you lived through something that was “history in the making?”

Do you hear people talk about history a lot in English?

Would you like to improve your conversation skills in English so that you can remark on these events in real time?

This is one of those things that has become a common topic of conversation, and it is at the root of several different idioms.

Today we look at why history is such a common topic of conversation, various idioms that center around the word “history”, and how to use these in conversation.

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A Little Background

Recently we discussed important days/events, and this inspired us to do an episode on idioms with the word ‘history’ in them.

You can find the previous episode on this topic here, which is a very helpful one for background.

Talk About Important Moments In History In English

Once you start doing the research, you realize just how common these actually are.

These idioms that feature the word “history” in them are plentiful, and you are likely to hear them used in conversation.

So you want to know what they are so that you can start using them in your own conversations.

There are so many we could talk about, but today we chose only a few to get into this and get you started.

It’s All About The History

First of all, if you say something is history what exactly does that mean?

Do you mean it about a specific event in history, or can it have another meaning?

There are a lot of different ways that you can talk about history, and you want to be sure that you are using the correct meaning.

When might you say this or use such a phrase?

It may be used to say that somebody should forget about something as an option.

Let’s get into this a little more so that you can see the various meanings and ways to use such idioms in your conversations.

Different Idioms In This Area

There are so many different ways to talk about history, and some of these aren’t even necessarily direct correlations.

These idioms all center around the word “history” though they have very different meanings and usages.

Let’s take a look at some of these phrases so that you can start to practice them and use them in conversation.

  • Ancient history: This talks about something that happened or was a long time ago. It really shouldn’t matter anymore because it happened so long ago. You might say something like “Oh well we fought in the third grade, but that’s ancient history!” It’s like saying that something is old news and so it just isn’t relevant anymore. It simply doesn’t matter and now you are moving on. Here’s a roleplay of how you might use this phrase in conversation.

A: “I’m still a little upset that he didn’t come to my party.”

B: “Oh come on, that’s ancient history.”

A: “Are you sure you can forgive me?”

B: “It’s ancient history!”

  • History in the making: This talks about something exciting that is occurring right now or in the near future. It is talking about something important that is happening or that will happen. It’s exciting and newsworthy, and therefore it is something to really focus on and talk about.

A: “She’s taking her first steps!”

B: “This is history in the making!”

A: “Wow, I passed my first MBA exam.”

B: “Congratulations! This is history in the making.”

  • The rest is history: This is basically like saying “you know how the story ends.” It’s as if there was a beginning and an end, and now you know how the story goes. The past is the past and now you are living in the present and looking to the future.

A: “So we met, had a few dates, really hit it off, and the rest is history!”

A: “How did you decide to work for this company?”

B: “I had an internship out of college.

That’s how I met Julie who connected me and told me about the job, and the rest is history!”

  • Go down in history: This means something is BIG, it’s a really big deal! This moment, this occasion, or this situation is something that will forever be remembered. It is historic or at the very least noteworthy and something that you will always look back on and remember.

A: “I got an A!”

B: “Oh wow, this will go down in history. I’m so proud of you!”

A: “I got the job!”

B: “This will go down in history. You never forget your first job.”

Why Is This Such A Popular Theme?

Why do we use so many idioms with history?

This may be something related to our culture, as there is so much rich history to it.

This may completely be a cultural thing, and it may not be as common in other countries.

This is something to think about, as it may be interesting to compare how this is in your own culture.

Do you talk about history a lot?

Do you have a lot of phrases that center around the word or idea of “history?”

There are some moments that are truly worth reliving or remembering, and those are the ones that tend to stand out.

There is much to learn from history, and so there’s a reason that we tend to look back at certain memorable moments.

You now have some great phrases that center around history, and these can make for a great addition to your conversations.

Practice these and then you can use them when the right situation comes up—and you will know when something is historical or memorable.


History a big word in the English language and we use it in many ways.

You can see just from these phrases that there are multiple ways to look back and remember things, and also various ways to use the word “history” in conversation.

Are we nostalgic?

Why do we use this?

Does this say something about the culture?

There are a lot of different aspects of history to discuss, and you see where this stems from.

Tell us if you use the word history, or a similar word in your idioms/expressions in your language.

This is an interesting conversation starter, and it can lead to some great connections too.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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