mem·​o·​ran·​dum | \ ˌme-mə-ˈran-dəm How to pronounce memorandum (audio) \
plural memorandums or memoranda\ ˌme-​mə-​ˈran-​də How to pronounce memoranda (audio) \

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

Wood ordered Gleason on Friday afternoon either to file a memorandum supporting his request for a protective order by May 18, or withdraw the request. Alan Feuer,, "Lawyer for 2 women who say they were Schneiderman victims talked to Cohen," 11 May 2018 Ehlke did take exception to something in a sentencing memorandum filed by Assistant Attorney General Christopher Liegel and Dane County Assistant District Attorney Allison Cogbill. Karen Herzog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lawmakers call 3-year sentence for Alec Cook's sex crimes lenient for "men with privilege"," 26 June 2018 Nine were legal memoranda from Cohen’s lawyers providing legal advice to Cohen or one of his clients, Wood said. Washington Post, "Judge Oks small number of privileged items in Cohen case," 22 June 2018 The companies whose returns were audited were not named in the summary, a memorandum from Tax Audit Master Jenny Rogers to Alper. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "State assesses $275 million on oil companies after audit of 2011 taxes," 19 Apr. 2018 Robert Carnell, chief economist for the Asia Pacific region at the financial services group ING, said China's likely retaliation to the memorandum could see the tit-for-tat retaliation spiral out of control. NBC News, "China threatens to retaliate against Trump's tariff plan," 23 Mar. 2018 The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office authorized the funds to be used for ALPR cameras last October, according to an inter-office memorandum from PBSO attorney Lisa Rubin to Capt. Austen Erblat,, "Wellington to consider automated license plate reader cameras at July 10 meeting," 9 July 2018 LaHood wrote the judge, according to Uresti’s memorandum. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "Prosecutors want Uresti to serve at least 17½ years in prison," 25 June 2018 According to memorandums from Al Jazeera, Davies contacted Manning's CAA agent Tom Condon before the documentary aired to get comment on something that Sly had been recorded saying. Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Al Jazeera Says Peyton Manning Was "Source" Confirming Doping Claims in Film," 1 June 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

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for memorandum

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

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More Definitions for memorandum



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 How to pronounce memorandum (audio) \
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 How to pronounce memorandum (audio) \
plural memorandums; plural memoranda\ -​də How to pronounce memoranda (audio) \

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

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