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

President Trump was expected to sign a memorandum Thursday that aims to streamline federal regulations governing the growing and economically important activity private firms are conducting in Earth's lower orbit. Ledyard King, USA TODAY, "President Trump hopes deregulation will boost commercial space activity while maintaining safety," 24 May 2018 The Psy-Group, one of Mr. Zamel’s firms, signed a memorandum of understanding with Cambridge Analytica LLC, a digital media firm that helped propel Mr. Trump to the presidency, these people said. Rebecca Ballhaus, WSJ, "Israeli Intelligence Company Formed Venture With Trump Campaign Firm Cambridge Analytica," 23 May 2018 Trump signed a presidential memorandum on May 8 withdrawing the U.S. from the controversial agreement signed by his predecessor in 2015. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Iran nuclear deal: What is it?," 10 May 2018 The developer also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Southland Hills Improvement Association agreeing not to modify the exterior of the historic mansion or parts of the surrounding grounds without approval from the association. Libby Solomon,, "Community input meeting for Bosley Estates development planned for July 11," 6 July 2018 Since 2002, all cruise lines that schedule port calls to Monterey have been required to sign a memorandum of understanding with the city that includes several environmental considerations and restrictions. San Francisco Chronicle, "federal laws didn’t prohibit discharges into the sanctuary," 2 June 2018 The city also signed a memorandum of understanding with the bargaining unit to explore the possibility of implementing 12-hour shifts. Jeff Piorkowski/special To,, "Beachwood City Council approves new police union contract; renovation of police station discussed," 5 Apr. 2018 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

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

1 Nov 2018

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 \
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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