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

In an interview with Voice of America, George Shultz, the U.S. secretary of state who was instrumental in negotiating the 1987 INF Treaty, lamented the world’s growing amnesia over the threat posed by nuclear weapons. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Trump opens the door to chaos as landmark treaty expires," 2 Aug. 2019 More than any position, cornerbacks require selective amnesia to shrug off unsuccessful plays and confidently own the next one. Globe Staff,, "Ty Law was driven to prove people wrong, and that made him a no-doubt Hall of Famer," 1 Aug. 2019 Their attempts are usually correct, but, by the first rehearsal, amnesia sets in. N'jameh Camara, Teen Vogue, "Names That Are Unfamiliar to You Aren't "Hard," They're "Unpracticed"," 12 July 2019 Beijing has manufactured a cultural amnesia around the June 4th massacre; it’s not taught in schools or mentioned in newspapers, while high-tech censors detect and block any mention of it online. Laignee Barron / Hong Kong, Time, "How the Tiananmen Square Massacre Changed China Forever," 4 June 2019 Discussions about partisanship today call to mind the description of a form of amnesia in which the sufferers forget everything except their grudges. Barney Frank, Time, "We Need Bipartisanship to Fix the Economy. That Seems Impossible Right Now," 22 Aug. 2019 Our cultural amnesia is, in fact, proof of the sugar snap’s rise to dominance. Gene Tempest,, "The sugar snap pea turns 50," 23 July 2019 Well, as every soap in the history of television has proven, amnesia is a great way to create tension in dramas. Ariana Romero,, "Is That Beloved Veronica Mars Character Really Gone? Here’s Your Only Shred Of Hope," 23 July 2019 The show tells the story of Myfanwy Thomas (Emma Greenwell), who wakes up in the rain beside London’s Millennium Bridge with amnesia. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Comic-Con 2019: 50 things to see at this year’s Comic-Con," 17 July 2019

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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Dictionary Entries near amnesia

ammunition scuttle







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Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for amnesia

The first known use of amnesia was in 1772

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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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Comments on amnesia

What made you want to look up amnesia? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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