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


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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 According to the whistleblower complaint, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, career prosecutors had asked their supervisor for permission to convene a grand jury in July 2017 in a formal memorandum. Byron Tau, WSJ, "Two Officers in Tamir Rice’s Fatal Shooting Won’t Face Federal Charges," 30 Dec. 2020 But in a memorandum filed in court earlier this year Needham urged Hall to pay close attention to a slow-motion version of the footage played during the April hearing. Jeremy Gorner,, "Judge upholds firing of officer dismissed in the wake of Laquan McDonald case," 10 Dec. 2020 Trump laid out the policy in a July 21 memorandum that told the Commerce secretary to send the president a tally that excludes undocumented immigrants, along with a separate set of numbers showing the total population. Greg Stohr,, "Supreme Court Hints It Will Move Cautiously in Trump Census Clash," 30 Nov. 2020 The new vision for joint activities and training between the union and company is contained in a memorandum of understanding on the FCA-UAW Center for Employee Development, which was included with the 2019 labor contract documentation. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "Training center in UAW scandal has big price tag, but will its role change?," 29 Nov. 2020 In a separate memorandum issued last week, the Corrections Department said all staff and visitors to facilities would be screened for the virus. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, "79th prison inmate in California dies of COVID-19," 2 Nov. 2020 The resolution outlined the governance structure for the partnership in a memorandum of understanding. Rachel Chason, Washington Post, "Prince George’s County Council postpones vote on P3 plan, facing opposition," 13 Oct. 2020 In a memorandum leaked to Lawfare on July 19, the DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis essentially sanctioned the federal usurpation of local law enforcement. Jonathan Stevenson, The New York Review of Books, "Trump’s Praetorian Guard," 24 Sep. 2020 In a memorandum arguing for the six month sentence. Randy Furst, Star Tribune, "Woman gets 6 months in prison for helping to falsify robberies for visa status," 28 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for memorandum

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for memorandum

Last Updated

7 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Memorandum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for memorandum


How to pronounce memorandum (audio)

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 memorandum (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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