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

Notably, the leaders signed a memorandum of understanding on oil and gas development rather than a more ambitious agreement to jointly explore for resources in the South China Sea. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "China’s Xi Woos Philippines as Rivalry With U.S. in Asia Deepens," 20 Nov. 2018 The memorandum about what everyone can and cannot wear is more than 200 pages long. Estelle Hanania, Allure, "Sky Warriors: A Day in the Life of Women in the U.S. Air Force," 21 June 2018 The Foreign Office submitted a memorandum consisting of little more than a set of aspirations with no details about how to put them into practice. The Economist, "Global Britain or globaloney," 15 Mar. 2018 In a sentencing memorandum, Sais’ attorney Emily Bahr said financial problems prompted her client to commit the crime. Kristina Davis,, "Ex-Tijuana judge says money woes led to cocaine smuggling," 3 July 2018 Sanchez’s defense attorney, Cassandra Stamm wrote in a sentencing memorandum, viewed by the Times. Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root, "The Real Joanne the Scammer: Former ICE Lawyer Steals Identities of Immigrants He Tried to Deport [Updated]," 28 June 2018 Trump set off the selling spree by signing a presidential memorandum that could impose tariffs on up to $60 billion worth of imports from China. NBC News, "U.S. stocks tumble after Trump fans fears of trade war with China," 22 Mar. 2018 The new policy would be a memorandum of agreement between the Department of Homeland Security and HHS and would not require the approval of Congress. NBC News, "Trump admin: Parents must be fingerprinted to get back migrant kids," 29 May 2018 McMaster directed his staff at the National Security Council to prepare a presidential memorandum ordering military dependents in South Korea to leave the country. Jeremy Diamond And Kevin Liptak, CNN, "Sources: Trump sought to evacuate military families from South Korea before Olympics," 15 May 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

11 Jan 2019

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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Comments on memorandum

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


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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