Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
1. To lower, sink, or fall. We need to get home before the sun goes down! Police are still investigating the site where the private plane went down last night. Stocks in the company have gone down for the third straight week in a row.
2. To occur, happen, or unfold, as of an event or action. We need to figure out what went down here before we can press any charges.
3. To be accepted, tolerated, or acknowledged. I don't think my business proposal went down too well with the board members. How do you think the news will go down with your parents?
4. vulgar slang To perform oral sex.
1. To be dead, destroyed, or in deep trouble after something negative happens. Almost always used in a figurative sense. I just got bad news from the auto repair shop—my car is history. You'll be history once the principal finds out you plagiarized that paper.
2. To be a thing of the past; to be no longer relevant. A: "I thought that you didn't get along with Jenny." B: "Oh, that's history! We're friends now." Can you please clean out all this junk? Cassette tapes are history, and there's no reason to keep them!
on the wrong side of history
A phrase usually used to describe outdated political decisions or practices. Someone needs to tell the president that his sexist statements put him on the wrong side of history. You are on the wrong side of history if you think injustice will continue unchallenged in your country.
slang Something that is very outdated or totally forgotten (often in favor of a more recent development). Oh, Jack is ancient history, we broke up weeks ago! Her interest in photography is ancient history now that she's started doing yoga.
history in the making
A current event that will prove to be of historical importance. Johnson needs to retire one more batter for a perfect game. You're watching history in the making, folks. Today's launch of the private spacecraft is history in the making.
the rest is history
Everyone knows how the rest of the story goes. Well, we met when a colleague of mine in San Francisco introduced us. The rest is history. He quit his job, signed the record deal, and the rest is history.
To do something historically significant; to do something important that will be remembered and recorded for a long time. She made history by becoming the first woman to hold the position. They are trying to make history as the only team ever to come back from an 0-3 start.
rewrite the history books
1. To create a false narrative about how a historical event happened so as to promote one's own personal agenda or beliefs. The government is being accused of rewriting the history books by instructing schools to use textbooks that paint its formation 200 years ago (and the subsequent decimation of the indigenous population here) in a more positive light.
2. To achieve a level of success that sets a new record or goes against a history of performing poorly. Used especially in reference to sports. After missing out on the playoffs for nearly 50 years in a row, the team has been on a huge winning streak this season, and it has a chance to rewrite the history books by not only making the playoffs, but winning the whole championship. The up-and-coming player is rewriting the history books with his stunning debut year on the field.
1. To create a false narrative about how a historical event happened so as to promote one's own personal agenda or beliefs. The government is being accused of rewriting history by instructing schools to use textbooks that paint its formation 200 years ago (and the subsequent decimation of the indigenous population here) in a more positive light.
2. To achieve a level of success that sets a new record or goes against a history of performing poorly. Used especially in reference to sports. After missing out on the playoffs for nearly 50 years in a row, the team has been on a huge winning streak this season, and it has a chance to rewrite history by not only making the playoffs, but winning the whole championship. The up-and-coming player is rewriting history with his stunning debut year on the field.
the history books
A figurative record of great achievements or moments in human history. Often used hyperbolically or ironically. He's secured his place in the history books with his stunning election victory today. The up-and-coming player is rewriting the history books with her remarkable debut year on the field. With the largest domestic growth ever recorded, this year has been one for the record books.
happy is the country which has no history
A lack of history suggests a lack of traumatic or unpleasant events (because those tend to be the things that get recorded or remembered). The more I learn about our country's history, the more I believe that happy is the country which has no history.
history repeats itself
Said when something that has happened in the past recurs in the present. Can be used in the negative to mean the opposite. And, once again, I got dumped. History repeats itself. The home team has lost their last three game sevens, so I bet they're hoping that history doesn't repeat itself tonight.
slang I'm leaving. I don't have to listen to this criticism—I'm history!
Fig. someone or something from so long ago as to be completely forgotten or no longer important, as a former relationship. Bob? I never think about Bob anymore. He's ancient history. His interest in joining the army is now ancient history.
1. to sink below a normal or expected level or height. The plane went down in flames. Theship went down with all hands aboard.
2. . to descend to a lower measurement. Herfever wentdown. The price of the stock went down yesterday.
3. . to be swallowed. The medicine went down without any trouble at all. The pilll took simply would not go down.
4. . to fall or drop down, as when struck or injured. Sam went down when he was struck on the chin. The deer went down when it was hit with the arrow.
5. . Sl. to happen. Hey, man! What's going down? Something strange is going down around here.
6. . Sl. to be accepted. We'll just have to wait awhile to see how all this goes down. The proposal didn't go down very well with the manager.
7. . Sl. to be arrested. (Underworld.) Lefty didn't want to go down for a crime he didn't do. Mr. Big said that somebody had to go down for it, and he didn't care who.
go down (in history) (as someone or something)
to be recorded for history as a significant person or event. You will go down in history as the most stubborn woman who ever lived. She will go down as a very famous woman.
go down something
to descend something; to fall down something. She went down the ladder very carefully. I did not want to go down those steep stairs.
Happy is the country which has no history.
Prov. Since history tends to record only violent, unfortunate, or tumultuous events, a country with no history would be a country lucky enough to have no such unhappy events to record. The history of our country is so full of greed, violence, and dishonesty; happy is the country which has no history.
History repeats itself.
Prov. The same kinds of events seem to happen over and over. It seems that history is about to repeat itself for that poor country; it is about to be invaded again. Alan: The country is headed for an economic depression. Jane: How do you know? Alan: History repeats itself. The conditions now are just like the conditions before the last major depression.
Inf. Good-bye, I am leaving. I'm history. See you tomorrow. Later. I'm history.
(the) rest is history
Fig. Everyone knows the rest of the story that I am referring to. Bill: Then they arrested all the officers of the corporation, and the rest is history. Bob: Hey, what happened between you and Sue? Bill: Finally we realized that we could never get along, and the rest is history.
A past event, as in She's talking about her sea voyage, but that's ancient history, or And then there was his divorce, but you don't want to hear ancient history. This hyperbolic idiom transfers the field of ancient history to a much-repeated tale.
1. Descend to a lower level; drop below the horizon, fall to the ground, or sink. For example, Don't let the baby go down the stairs alone, or The sun went down behind the hill, or I was afraid the plane would go down, or The ship went down and all hands were lost. [c. 1300]
2. Experience defeat or ruin, as in They went down fighting, or The boxer went down in the first round. [Late 1500s]
3. Decrease, subside, as in After Christmas prices will go down, or As soon as the swelling goes down it won't hurt as much. [Second half of 1600s]
4. Be swallowed, as in This huge pill just won't go down, or Your wine goes down very smoothly. [Second half of 1500s]
5. Be accepted or believed, as in How did your speech at the convention go down? When it takes an object, it is put as go down with, as in It's hardly the truth but it still goes down with many voters. [c. 1600]
6. Also, go down in history. Be recorded or remembered, as in This event must go down in her book as one of the highlights of the year, or This debate will go down in history. [Late 1800s]
7. Occur, take place, as in Really crazy behavior was going down in the sixties. [Slang; mid-1900s] Also see come down, def. 4.
8. Be sent to prison, as in He went down for a five-year term. [Slang; c. 1900]
9. In the game of bridge, fail to fulfill one's contract (that is, take fewer than the required number of tricks), as in We had bid four hearts and the bad distribution made us go down. [Early 1900s] Also see the subsequent idioms beginning with go down.
Do something memorable or spectacular enough to influence the course of history, as in That first space flight made history. [Mid-1800s]
Express oneself in the same way or with the same words, as in Grandma forgets she has told us this story before and repeats herself over and over, or This architect tends to repeat himself-all his houses look alike. A well-known version of this idiom is the proverb History repeats itself, first recorded (in English) in 1561. For example, Her mother also married when she was 18-history repeats itself. [Mid-1800s]
See also: repeat
COMMON If someone or something is history, they are no longer important or no longer exist. If you forget to do your homework, you're history. He raises a hammer and swings it at the stone. A dozen well aimed blows, and the thing is history.
the rest is history
COMMON If you are telling someone about an event and you say the rest is history, you mean that you do not need to say any more because you are sure that everyone is familiar with what happened next. A job with the company was advertised in The Daily Telegraph. I applied and the rest is history. After he left hospital, he was persuaded to start his own fashion house. The rest is history.
If someone rewrites history, they try to make people believe that something happened in a particular way, when that is not the truth. They were good at rewriting history when such a process suited them. As Orwell pointed out, history can be and often is rewritten to suit the needs of the present. Note: This expression is used to express disapproval.
be history1 be perceived as no longer relevant to the present. 2 used to indicate imminent departure, dismissal, or death. informal
2 1995 Country If Ducas does get the girl, you can lay odds that she'll be history by the end of the song.
make historydo something that is remembered in or influences the course of history.
the rest is historyused to indicate that the events succeeding those already related are so well known that they need not be recounted again.
rewrite historyselect or interpret events from the past in a way that suits your own particular purposes.
go down in/make ˈhistorybe or do something so important that it will be recorded in history: Roger Bannister made history as the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes. ♢ This battle will go down in history as one of our most important victories.
the ˈhistory booksthe record of great achievements in history: She has earned her place in the history books.
the rest is ˈhistoryused when you are telling a story to say that you do not need to tell the end of it, because everyone knows it already: She moved here two years ago, met Steve last summer, and the rest is history.
1. To proceed along some path: We went down the street.
2. To descend something: Let's go down the stairs rather than taking the elevator. Go down and see if they need any help in the kitchen. I went down to the cellar to fetch a bottle of wine.
3. go down to To reach or extend to some lower point: This path goes down to the bottom of the canyon. The thermometer goes down to -15 degrees.
4. To fall to the ground; plummet: The helicopter went down when the rotor malfunctioned. The boxer went down in the fourth round.
5. To sink: The ship went down in the storm, but the crew survived.
6. To travel south: I go down to the tropics every winter. I went down and visited my family in Mexico.
7. To go to a city or town center, or some central location: We went down to the park to meet our friends. My friend got arrested, so I went down and bailed him out.
8. To drop toward or below the horizon; set. Used especially of the sun and moon: The crickets began to chirp after the sun went down.
9. To experience defeat or ruin: The company went down after the stock market crashed.
10. To fail to operate; break down: The computers went down due to a software problem.
11. To permit swallowing: This cough syrup goes down readily.
12. To diminish in intensity or volume: The lights went down and the movie began. Put some ice on your injured elbow to help the swelling go down. When they returned to their car, they saw that the tires had gone down.
13. To decrease in value: Bond prices often go up as stocks go down. Last night, the temperature went down to 10 degrees.
14. To occur; happen. Used especially of interesting or important events: When the police officers saw the limousines arrive at the mobster's hideout, they knew something big was going down.
15. To be accepted or tolerated: My announcement that the show would be canceled did not go down well with the audience.
16. To come to be remembered in posterity: This remarkable debate will go down as a turning point in the campaign. The day we signed the treaty will go down in history.
17. Vulgar Slang go down on To perform oral sex on someone.
n. someone or something completely forgotten, especially past romances. (see also history.) That business about joining the army is ancient history.
1. in. to happen; [for a process or sequence] to unfold. Something strange is going down around here.
2. in. to be accepted. (see also swallow.) We’ll just have to wait a while to see how all this goes down.
3. in. to be arrested. (Underworld.) Mr. Gutman said that somebody had to go down for it, and he didn’t care who.
sent. Good-bye, I am leaving. (see also history.) I’m history. See you tomorrow.
To do something memorable or spectacular enough to influence the course of history: The first space flight made history.
Bygone days. This cliché, widely used since the mid-nineteenth century, is a redundancy. History is the past; it can never be future or current. Nor does the adjective past really serve to emphasize. Nevertheless, the term was and continues to be used. John Ruskin used it in Praeterita (1886), “I was stupidly and heartlessly careless of the past history of my family,” as did James Grant in History of the Burgh and Parish Schools of Scotland (1876): “Mr. Innes . . . always entered enthusiastically into any proposal calculated to elucidate the past history of his native country.” It is heard less often today.
rest is history, the
You know the end of this story, so I need not go into details. Often used for a biographical or autobiographical account, this phrase dates from the second half of the 1900s. Nigel Rees cites a play on it by Alan Bennett (Oxford Today, 1988), describing his career change from an Oxford history professor to a Broadway revue artist: “The rest, one might say pompously, is history. Except that in my case the opposite was true.”
See also: rest