mem·o·ran·dum | \ ˌme-mə-ˈran-dəm \
plural memorandums or memoranda\-də \

Definition of memorandum 

1 : an informal record also : a written reminder

2 : an informal written record of an agreement that has not yet become official

3a : an informal diplomatic (see diplomatic sense 2) communication

b : a usually brief communication written for interoffice circulation The company president sent a memorandum to every employee.

c : a communication that contains directive, advisory, or informative matter The memorandum called particular attention to the plight of refugees.

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Synonyms for memorandum


directive, memo, notice

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memorandums or memoranda?: Usage Guide

Although some commentators warn against the use of memoranda as a singular and condemn the plural memorandas, our evidence indicates that these forms are rarely encountered in print. We have a little evidence of the confusion of forms, including use of memorandum as a plural, in speech (as at congressional hearings). As plurals memoranda and memorandums are about equally frequent.

Examples of memorandum in a Sentence

I'm waiting for the memorandum that will explain the new vacation policy. the studio executives depend on endless memoranda to keep track of what's going on at a movie shot on location

Recent Examples on the Web

Overall, the new terminal is expected to bring an additional 1 million MSC passengers through the port, according to the memorandum of understanding. Chabeli Herrera, miamiherald, "PortMiami’s third new cruise terminal is coming. It’ll fit MSC’s 7,000-passenger ships," 12 July 2018 Through the first half of 2018, Naperville’s collections of use tax are up 8 percent compared to the first six months of 2017, the memorandum said. Erin Hegarty, Naperville Sun, "Naperville could gain $350,000 annually from Supreme Court decision on out-of-state use tax," 30 June 2018 The agency argues this memorandum should satisfy some of those demands, but some Democrats were not pleased with the release so expect the issue to come up continue popping up this week. Cnn's Capitol Hill Team, CNN, "Cabinet nominees -- starting with Mike Pompeo committee vote -- top of Congress' agenda this week," 23 Apr. 2018 This memorandum helps ensure that E.P.A. carries out its core mission, while reducing regulatory burdens for domestic manufacturing. New York Times, "Pruitt’s New Deputy: A Coal Lobbyist Steeped in Washington’s Ways," 12 Apr. 2018 The Miami-Dade County Commission unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with MSC Tuesday to build cruise Terminal AAA at the port. Chabeli Herrera, miamiherald, "PortMiami’s third new cruise terminal is coming. It’ll fit MSC’s 7,000-passenger ships," 12 July 2018 Lawyers on Thursday filed a memorandum to a class-settlement that governs how children are handled when they are caught crossing the U.S. border illegally. Fox News, "The Latest: Pope reiterates opposition to separating kids," 21 June 2018 Based on a memorandum of understanding approved May 15, the Georgia Department of Transportation will fund the other half of the study, which will extend from I-285 to I-985. Karen Huppertz, ajc, "Gwinnett partners with state to fund I-85 corridor study," 5 June 2018 The Kansas City Council voted 8-5 on February 8, 2018 to accept a memorandum of understanding with KCI developer Edgemoor. Bill Turque, kansascity, "New KCI will be bigger than planned — but opening likely delayed | The Kansas City Star," 12 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'memorandum.' 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 memorandum

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for memorandum

Middle English, to be remembered, from Latin, neuter of memorandus, gerundive of memorare

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Statistics for memorandum

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for memorandum

The first known use of memorandum was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of memorandum

: a usually brief written message or report from one person or department in a company or organization to another

law : an informal written record of an agreement that has not yet become official


mem·o·ran·dum | \ ˌme-mə-ˈran-dəm \
plural memorandums or memoranda\-də \

Kids Definition of memorandum

1 : an informal report or message

2 : a written reminder


mem·o·ran·dum | \ ˌme-mə-ˈran-dəm \
plural memorandums; plural memoranda\-də \

Legal Definition of memorandum 

1 : a usually informal written communication

2 : a record (as a note) which is used by a party seeking to enforce an otherwise oral agreement in accordance with the Statute of Frauds to prove that the other party agreed to a contract and which need not contain all the terms of the contract itself

3 : brief

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


a magnificent or impressive array

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