Definition of memory in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmem(ə)rē/

noun (plural memories)

1The faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information: I’ve a great memory for faces my grandmother is losing her memory the brain regions responsible for memory
More example sentences
  • No problem there, I have a terrible memory for names so didn't even remember them five seconds after leaving the room.
  • She still has a great memory for all the old Irish songs and poems.
  • All creatures do need a memory for basic functioning and survival.
1.1The mind regarded as a store of things remembered: he searched his memory frantically for an answer
More example sentences
  • Whenever anyone glanced at him he searched his memory frantically to see if he recognised them.
  • He searched his memory and suddenly remembered a Sunday evening when he and Cam were seniors at Sacred Heart High School.
  • Williams searched his memory, trying to remember what he did in this situation eleven years ago.
ability to remember, powers of recall
2Something remembered from the past; a recollection: one of my earliest memories is of sitting on his knee the mind can bury all memory of traumatic abuse
More example sentences
  • I have no recollection of my past memories, except periodic flashbacks of my previous life.
  • What happened during that week was just a bad memory in the past.
  • Imagine groggily waking up in a strange house, surrounded by unfamiliar faces, with not a single memory of the past ten hours.
recollection, remembrance, reminiscence;
2.1The remembering or recollection of a dead person, especially one who was popular or respected: clubs devoted to the memory of Sherlock Holmes
More example sentences
  • A candlelit vigil took place in Huyton last night, one week after the alleged assault, to honour the dead teenager's memory.
  • The memory of the dead is respected, by visitor and host alike.
  • I've instructed all agencies to honor their memory by treating the dead with the dignity and respect they deserve.
commemoration, remembrance;
honor, tribute, recognition, respect
2.2The length of time over which people continue to remember a person or event: the worst slump in recent memory
More example sentences
  • After one of the most hectic holiday seasons in recent memory, many of us have settled in for equally hectic work schedules.
  • So here it is: the opening salvo in what looks to be the worst summer-movie season in recent memory.
  • But, even in adults, memory for recent events is transient unless it is refreshed by rehearsal.
3The part of a computer in which data or program instructions can be stored for retrieval.
Example sentences
  • During an initialization phase, an access code is stored in a memory of a computer system.
  • When the light pulse stops, its information is suspended and stored, just as information is stored in the memory of a computer.
  • A reconnaissance satellite, placed into orbit years ago, captures the entire scene in its computer memory.
memory bank, store, cache, disk, RAM, ROM, hard drive
3.1Capacity for storing information on a computer: the module provides 16Mb of memory
More example sentences
  • There is a virtual hard drive available in the Internet with plenty of memory to store personal information.
  • The latest MP3 technology compresses all superfluous parts of a sound signal to reduce the amount of memory needed to store digital information.
  • Depending on the level, you will have different amounts of system memory in which to store your subroutines.



from memory

Without reading or referring to notes: each child was required to recite a verse from memory
More example sentences
  • Whether she was quoting from memory or reading from the open book beside the phone, I was impressed by the trouble she had taken.
  • Instead, he went to sit next to her at the table, watched her copying down her notes from memory.
  • As the verses flowed from memory, he closed his eyes, concentrating on the words and melody.

in memory of

Intended to remind people of, especially to honor a dead person.
Example sentences
  • In the cool, marble-floored interior women in saris lit hundreds of small oil lamps in memory of the dead.
  • In Westhoughton, young children read out the roll of honour and lit candles in memory of those who died.
  • Ceremonies in memory of the dead are held on the seventh and hundredth days after death.

take a trip (or walk) down memory lane

Deliberately recall pleasant or sentimental memories.
Example sentences
  • Mr. Karunakaran took a trip down memory lane, recalling his early days as an ordinary worker of the Indian National Congress, and then as a trade union leader before reaching the higher echelons of power, both in the State and at the Centre.
  • Reminiscing about long forgotten names, lost to many in Portlaoise, but not to the Marian Avenue residents, they took a trip down memory lane.
  • The old school bell rang once more as the Taugheen Young at Heart group took a trip down memory lane in a ‘Back to School’ special.


Middle English: from Old French memorie, from Latin memoria, from memor 'mindful, remembering'.

  • English adopted the Latin word memoria twice, first directly from Latin in the Middle Ages as memory, then in the 15th century through French as memoir. The earliest sense of memoir was ‘a memorandum’; people's memoirs, either recording historical events or recounting their own lives, appeared in the 17th century. Latin memoria is formed from memor ‘mindful’, from which memorable (Late Middle English); remember (Middle English); remind (mid 17th century); reminisce (early 19th century); and commemoration (Late Middle English) also come. A 1903 song introduced the world to memory lane, while another song took the same title in 1924. In both lyrics people ‘wandered’, whereas nowadays we take a trip down memory lane when we indulge in pleasant or sentimental memories. In medieval times and later, merchants, lawyers, and diplomats would write memorandum that… at the head of a note of something to be remembered or a record of what had been done. In Latin memorandum means ‘it is to be remembered’, and is a form of memorare, ‘to bring to mind’. Memento (Late Middle English) is also pure Latin. It was at first a prayer of commemoration and is an order to ‘remember!’.

Words that rhyme with memory


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mem·o·ry

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