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

Prosecutors had asked the judge in a sentencing memorandum to give him the maximum penalty of 32 years and eight months, Hall said. Washington Post, "Trucker pleads guilty to California crash that killed 13," 31 Aug. 2019 During a meeting May 7, the village board unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding between the team and the village that called for an amendment of the stadium lease. Jeremy Mikula,, "Chicago Fire reach deal with Bridgeview to leave SeatGeek Stadium for $65.5 million," 9 July 2019 The city of Prichard is backing the development after approving a memorandum of understanding to provide tax incentives on public improvements made at the development site, which is at Alabama 158 near Interstate 65 in Mobile County., "Ambitious sports development introduced in Mobile County," 1 July 2019 In April, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum meant to warn Amazon, eBay and the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba about the issue. Michael Cappetta, NBC News, "On Instagram, counterfeit cash is for sale — and a short search away," 19 July 2019 Lelling’s office wrote in a recent sentencing memorandum. Travis Andersen,, "MS-13 gang member sentenced to 17 years in prison for crimes including slayings of two teens," 10 July 2019 Prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum that life in prison is the only appropriate sentence. Steve Almasy, CNN, "Man who killed a woman when he rammed his car into Charlottesville counterprotest to be sentenced Friday," 28 June 2019 But Vandemoer’s lawyer, Robert Fisher, argues in a sentencing memorandum that the former coach should receive no prison time and only a probationary sentence. John Woolfolk, The Mercury News, "College scandal: Stanford coach up first for sentencing; will he go to prison?," 11 June 2019 Brandon Marshall, Grubbs' attorney, wrote in a sentencing memorandum that, as a teenager, Grubbs turned to coding and the Internet as a refuge from his parents, who frequently got in arguments with one another. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "21-year-old who created powerful RAT software sentenced to 30 months," 16 Oct. 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

6 Sep 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

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


recurring in steady succession

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