Definition of natural history in US English:

natural history


  • 1The scientific study of animals or plants, especially as concerned with observation rather than experiment, and presented in popular rather than academic form.

    • ‘Founded a few years after Linnaeus's death, the Linnaean Society of London is still going strong as an international society for the study of natural history.’
    • ‘Tunnicliffe specialized in natural history subjects, particularly birds, and was best known as a book illustrator.’
    • ‘Some items have survived in zoological institutes and natural history museums in Saint Petersburg, Stockholm, and Amsterdam, as well as in the British Museum in London.’
    • ‘Now, drawing on the breadth of its research in natural history, its laboratories, and its collections, the Museum is in a strong position to contribute to the field of molecular biology.’
    • ‘This field blends laboratory physiology, with its emphasis on controlled experimental designs, and natural history.’
    • ‘Over the next three years, he sent his sponsor 209 dried plant specimens and fifty-nine natural history drawings, plus a lengthy report on the first years of his travels.’
    • ‘On his way back from South America four years later, Wallace's ship caught fire and sank, destroying most of his notes, sketches, and natural history specimens.’
    • ‘The Future Is Wild brings this world to life in a futuristic natural history series that puts evolution on fast forward.’
    • ‘Inquire to learn more about natural history expeditions throughout Alaska's Brooks Range, and select destinations elsewhere in Alaska and the Canadian Arctic.’
    • ‘The museum also has a unique collection of armour and a now rather tattered natural history exhibition.’
    • ‘And this he did, remembering from his omnivorous reading a book entitled Out of Doors, by the popular Victorian natural history writer, the Reverend J.G. Wood.’
    • ‘Such is his celebrity that taxi drivers discuss, not the weather, but natural history with him.’
    • ‘Anyone interested in lepidoptera, entomology, natural history, and probably even art and photography will enjoy the photographs.’
    • ‘Additional inferences were based on examples from the literature and our own natural history observations at the site.’
    • ‘Sadly, the Knox Academy folded, and its exquisite natural history collections and library were dispersed, following Lermond's death in 1944.’
    • ‘With the help of artists who simulated certain artifacts, and with the benefit of indispensable loans from natural history collections, I have produced a version of the past.’
    • ‘The natural history of animal inebriation has been documented anecdotally, but has received no scientific attention.’
    • ‘Beyond the question of caring for these exotic creatures was the issue of whether anything of value to natural history could be learned by studying animals in captivity.’
    • ‘Illustrations in works of natural history frequently showed apes assuming erect posture, using human tools, and approximating human proportions in the trunk and limbs.’
    • ‘Using the concept of spectacle, she explores the many ways in which contemporary natural history is now presented.’
    • ‘Scientists are shifting their attention from natural history studies to questions about how best to conserve isolated and declining populations.’
    • ‘Physiologically based biology and geology took over from natural history towards the end of the nineteenth century.’
    1. 1.1 The study of the whole natural world, including mineralogy and paleontology.
      • ‘Several of the drawers under the bookcases and in the medal cabinet in the Library are still packed with minerals and natural history specimens, including large pieces of coral, crystals, fossils and animal bones.’
      • ‘I came to the profession of letters via the study of natural history, palaeontology, and medicine.’
      • ‘The introductory programme, Pole to Pole, which alone took more than two years to film, observes the planet as a whole and examines the factors that have shaped its natural history.’
      • ‘Answers to this question come mainly from ecology, natural history and of course evolutionary biology.’
      • ‘He was a true scholar, with interests in mineralogy, physics, natural history, chemistry, mathematics, and languages.’
      • ‘Drawing upon an extensive literature relating to the region's natural history, Greenberg presents a most impressive interpretive synthesis designed for the general reader.’
  • 2Medicine
    The usual course of development of a disease or condition, especially in the absence of treatment.

    ‘the natural history of cancerous tumors’
    • ‘Although it is known to be a genetically determined disease, the natural history is variable.’
    • ‘Therefore, every reported case is useful in defining the diagnostic, prognostic, therapeutic, and natural history criteria of the disease.’
    • ‘There has therefore been increased interest in the early natural history of CF lung disease and in interventions that might prevent or delay the progression of pulmonary disease.’
    • ‘Although extensively discussed in the literature, the origin and natural history of this condition are still unclear.’
    • ‘The natural history of cervical spine instability is unknown, and controlled long-term longitudinal studies are lacking.’
    • ‘But doctors learn about the natural history of diseases so that they can thwart or deflect them.’
    • ‘The natural history of disease and response to treatment may be related to the genotype of HCV in a particular patient.’
    • ‘For stage four patients, natural history data with standard treatments suggests this group of patients would be unlikely to have a survival at five to 10 years above 15 percent.’
    • ‘The natural history of this condition is resolution of symptoms within 1-2 years and recovery of function.’
    • ‘Define the risk factors (host/genetic and environmental) that affect the occurrence and natural history of the disease.’
    • ‘Even allowing for individual variability, physicians have a wealth of information about the usual natural history of most conditions.’
    • ‘Is the association consistent with the natural history of the disease?’
    • ‘Knowledge of the age-related prevalence and natural history of cervical cancer precursors in women has guided the development of cervical cancer screening strategies for women.’
    • ‘Ideas about the evolution of microbes had not yet influenced concepts about the natural history of infectious diseases.’
    • ‘We also like to think that these drugs reduce symptoms, improve exercise performance, perhaps reduce the number of exacerbations, or even modify the disease natural history.’
    • ‘The natural history of the disease is accrual of large cells and transformation to an aggressive lymphoma.’
    • ‘Despite its increased frequency in diagnosis, the natural history, clinical course and management of this condition have not been well defined.’
    • ‘This natural history of cancer, and a straightforward version of it, could take two or three decades to develop.’
    • ‘The probability of recurrent depressive episodes and compliance rates was drawn primarily from published Phase III clinical trial and disease natural history data.’
    • ‘The etiology, natural history, and optimal treatment of respiratory failure have been the subject of active investigation for over 100 years.’


natural history

/ˌnaCH(ə)rəl ˈhist(ə)rē//ˌnætʃ(ə)rəl ˈhɪst(ə)ri/