Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. History considered from a feminist viewpoint or emphasizing the actions of women.
  • n. A narrative or chronology of events in a woman's life: "the truncated herstory of three black female students” ( Wanda Coleman).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. History that emphasizes the role of women, or that is told from a woman's (or from a feminist) point of view.
  • n. Any historical writing by or about women.

Etymologies

Blend of her and history (under an interpretation of the latter as "his story” ).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Blend of her and history, derived playfully as if the first syllable in history were his, the male pronoun. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Fey won't be remembered by history, because herstory is not history.

    Fey likely to revive Palin impersonation

  • Posted at 06: 01 PM in herstory, pi, sociologie/anthropologie | Permalink

    galleon trade edition

  • And one thing that has occurred, I believe, throughout human herstory is women helping to raise one another's children -- often in an attempt to keep the kids free from sexual predation by adult males.

    KICKIN' ASS AND TAKIN' NAMES

  • On this day - the birthday of Toni Morrison, who turns 77 - I highlight Margaret Garner dates unknown, whose "herstory" was eulogized and memorialized in what is often considered Morrison's greatest work: the 1988 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Beloved, which was eventually made into a film a decade later, produced and starring Oprah Winfrey and directed by Jonathan Demme.

    Is This a Story to Pass On? Memorializing Margaret Garner

  • Thanks for the hip hop "herstory" we're always inclined to overlook.

    Hip Hop's Hatred of Black Women

  • Resource, 'herstory': Many of the formations do not have the necessary resources, financial, technical or human, and it thus crucial to share these and maximise their usage.

    Now is the time, our age of hope

  • For instance, we already have located in the Women's National Coalition (WNC) a lot of our memory, 'herstory' and resources.

    Now is the time, our age of hope

  • But I always considered "herstory" to be a play on the word the same way the lyrics to "Lullabye League/Lollipop Guild" from The Wizard of Oz are sung "From now on you'll be history, You'll be hissed, You'll be hissed, You'll be history."

    Pen-Elayne on the Web

  • Do you think "herstory" belongs in the same category as "Freedom Toast" or do you think it's just a cute or annoying, depending on your views pun?

    Pen-Elayne on the Web

  • The problem, in her view, is that far too often "herstory" becomes what she calls "hystery" — a false and melodramatic version of the past.

    Bothered and Bewildered

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Random House says history is "one who knows", while AHD says it is "learned man", which is probably indicative of the time it was used.

    December 10, 2007

  • I know a lot of women who don't care for the term. I'd be surprised if it were a sausage club exclusionary thing, as John so vibrantly puts it. :-)

    December 10, 2007

  • I await John's ripping yarn to excite my new Hi-Story list. Avanti.

    December 9, 2007

  • I like neither this word, nor male chauvinism, so I solved the dilemma by inventing my own etymology for history. Just break up history so the first work is "hi", as in "high", instead of "his", you can think of history as a being a series of high stories, as in, a bunch of ripping good yarns, rather than some sausage club exclusionary thing.

    December 9, 2007

  • This word actually triggers my gag reflex. If that makes me a male chauvinist pig, so be it.

    December 9, 2007