past history

past 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.
See also: history, past
References in classic literature ?
And so on it goes, and every now and again, among entries which seem to us of little or no importance, we learn something that throws great light on our past history. And when we come to the time of Alfred's reign the entries are much more full.
The response of an organism to a given stimulus is very often dependent upon the past history of the organism, and not merely upon the stimulus and the HITHERTO DISCOVERABLE present state of the organism.
Must I then be untrue to my past history; recoil before obstacles that are not serious; requite with cowardly hesitation what both the English Government and the Royal Society of London have done for me?"
The boys were not able to remem- ber that their remarks had possessed weight before; but now their sayings were treasured and repeated; everything they did seemed somehow to be regarded as remarkable; they had evidently lost the power of doing and saying commonplace things; moreover, their past history was raked up and discovered to bear marks of conspicuous originality.
And will it throw any light on a mysterious and shocking event which our readers have learned to associate with the past history of Gleninch?
What his past history was he had no way of telling me, but as I never saw anything of his mother I believed him to be an orphan.
"Well, well, I'll drop past history and get down to present-day facts.
Holmes, for my past history and my relations with Mr.
But something in his past history, or in his present way of living, had apparently driven him too deeply into himself for any casual impulse to draw him back to his kind.
They proved that a seal pup could swim or not swim at birth by stating the proposition very bellicosely and then following it up with an attack on the opposing man's judgment, common sense, nationality, or past history. Rebuttal was precisely similar.
I was speaking of your father's past history. I said the origin of his fortune remained obscure.
Still Lucy wished Maggie to enjoy the spectacle also, especially as she would doubtless find a name for the toad, and say what had been his past history; for Lucy had a delighted semibelief in Maggie's stories about the live things they came upon by accident,--how Mrs.
Money did not become freer, though the casual reader of Daylight's newspapers, as well as of all the other owned and subsidised newspapers in the country, could only have concluded that the money tightness was over and that the panic was past history. All public utterances were cheery and optimistic, but privately many of the utters were in desperate straits.
They are both of them, I am certain, quite as ignorant of who the woman is, and of what her past history in connection with us can be, as I am myself.
It was largely a product of the pride which was being awakened among the people in the greatness of England under Elizabeth, and of the consequent desire to know something of the past history of the country, and it received a great impulse from the enthusiasm aroused by the struggle with Spain and the defeat of the Armada.