am·​ne·​sia | \ am-ˈnē-zhə How to pronounce amnesia (audio) \

Definition of amnesia

1 : loss of memory due usually to brain injury, shock, fatigue, repression, or illness
2 : a gap in one's memory
3 : the selective overlooking or ignoring of events or acts that are not favorable or useful to one's purpose or position … Americans seemed to develop a willful forgetfulness about the nation's longest military conflict, an amnesia that lasted for nearly a decade.— Alan Brinkley

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Other Words from amnesia

amnesiac \ am-​ˈnē-​zhē-​ˌak How to pronounce amnesiac (audio) , -​zē-​ \ or amnesic \ am-​ˈnē-​zik How to pronounce amnesic (audio) , -​sik \ adjective or noun

Examples of amnesia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Imagine developing amnesia and forgetting you are married. Michelle Rogers, USA TODAY, "No ‘one-size-fits-all fairytale ending’ in storytelling event June 25," 19 June 2020 The liberal amnesia over Bush (and his father) should not obscure how little the other former presidents might have to offer here. Libby Watson, The New Republic, "The Political Elites’ Pointless Calls for More Leadership," 1 June 2020 Between technical glitches and food worries, retail therapy and sheer amnesia, something has happened to shopping during the pandemic that can be summed up thusly: rubber chickens. Leanne Italie, Houston Chronicle, "Retail therapy for the pandemic: What have we bought and why?," 30 May 2020 The woman, played by Janelle Monáe and introduced to viewers as Jackie, has amnesia. Gabe Cohn, New York Times, "What’s on TV Friday: ‘Homecoming’ and ‘AKA Jane Roe’," 22 May 2020 The opposing view, voiced by Jean-Luc Godard and others, was that documents are our strongest defense against amnesia, and that images can be powerful agents of imaginative reconstruction. Susan Tallman, The New York Review of Books, "The Master of Unknowing," 25 Apr. 2020 And let the work of repair begin, dooming the 45th president to history’s amnesia, eventually. New York Times, "Joe Biden Is Poised to Deliver the Biggest Surprise of 2020: A Short, Orderly Primary," 11 Mar. 2020 Collective amnesia and sensory overload can no longer be his escape route. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Trump Can’t Lie His Way Out of This One," 16 Apr. 2020 But rest assured, this convenient case of amnesia is not contagious. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Impeachment and Amnesia," 8 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'amnesia.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of amnesia

1772, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for amnesia

New Latin, from Greek amnēsia forgetfulness, alteration of amnēstia

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Time Traveler for amnesia

Time Traveler

The first known use of amnesia was in 1772

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Statistics for amnesia

Last Updated

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Amnesia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for amnesia


How to pronounce amnesia (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of amnesia

medical : a condition in which a person is unable to remember things because of brain injury, shock, or illness


am·​ne·​sia | \ am-ˈnē-zhə How to pronounce amnesia (audio) \

Kids Definition of amnesia

: an abnormal and usually complete loss of one's memory


am·​ne·​sia | \ am-ˈnē-zhə How to pronounce amnesia (audio) \

Medical Definition of amnesia

1 : loss of memory sometimes including the memory of personal identity due to brain injury, shock, fatigue, repression, or illness or sometimes induced by anesthesia a period of amnesia after the wreck
2 : a gap in one's memory an amnesia concerning her high-school years

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