mne·​mon·​ic | \ ni-ˈmä-nik How to pronounce mnemonic (audio) \

Definition of mnemonic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : assisting or intended to assist memory To distinguish "principal" from "principle" use the mnemonic aid "the principal is your pal." also : of or relating to mnemonics
2 : of or relating to memory mnemonic skill



Definition of mnemonic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a mnemonic device or code

Other Words from mnemonic


mnemonically \ ni-​ˈmä-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce mnemonic (audio) \ adverb

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The word mnemonic derives from the Greek mnēmōn ("mindful"), which itself comes from the verb mimnēskesthai, meaning "to remember." (In classical mythology, Mnemosyne, the mother of the Muses, is the goddess of memory.) In addition to its adjectival use, mnemonic is also a noun meaning "a mnemonic device," and the plural form mnemonics is used in the sense of "a technique of improving the memory." As with many classical borrowings, we retained the double initial consonant, but not the pronunciation of both, since the combination doesn't occur naturally in English (pneumonia is a similar case). If this spelling strikes you as particularly fiendish to remember, keep this mnemonic in mind: although the word's pronunciation begins with an n sound, the spelling begins with an m, as in memory.

Examples of mnemonic in a Sentence

Noun HOMES is used as a mnemonic for the names of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The International Astronomical Union even formally recognizes the latter mnemonic device, while also pointing out the five dwarf planets that exist among the eight major ones. Clare Mulroy, USA TODAY, 12 Sep. 2022 The teaser uses music as both a source of emotional connection and as a mnemonic device. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, 26 July 2022 An easy way to remember migraine prevention techniques is through the mnemonic device SEEDS. Carly Vandergriendt, SELF, 19 May 2022 Its name is a mnemonic identify threats based on the following categories: Spoofing, Tampering, Repudiation, Information disclosure, Denial of service and Elevation of privilege. Barbara Cosgriff, Forbes, 6 May 2022 Restoring Indigenous place names restores mnemonic and spiritual connections among place, culture and ancestral knowledge. Bonnie Mcgill, Scientific American, 22 Apr. 2022 Utilizing a mnemonic learning device in her Earth Science course, Lusby-Brown incorporated visual, auditory and interactive components to teach her students about the different celestial bodies of the solar system. C.r. Walker,, 28 Feb. 2022 The strongest effect that the family has on Leda is mnemonic: seeing young mothers with young daughters sparks remembrances of her own earlier years, nearly two decades ago, when her two daughters (now in their twenties) were small children. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 3 Jan. 2022 Use mnemonic devices to aid in the active recall for easy application of the new mental models. Jedidiah Alex Koh, Forbes, 5 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Eyüp sat in front of me, framed against a background of flower sellers and A.T.M.s, a mnemonic in the flesh. New York Times, 12 May 2022 Not only was the whine agitating—EHHNNNNNNNN—but its constant drone was like a cruel mnemonic for everything that bothered him. Bianca Bosker, The Atlantic, 8 Oct. 2019 The mnemonic that emergency room doctors use to quickly evaluate patients is A.B.C. — airway, breathing, circulation. New York Times, 9 Aug. 2019 This mnemonic may unwittingly exploit the fact that the hippocampus encodes both location information and autobiographical memories. Quanta Magazine, 7 Oct. 2014 Another hint that websites can offer is what Dr. Juang calls a visual mnemonic—a simple drawing that suggests to the user what their passphrase is. Henry Williams, WSJ, 18 Sep. 2018 Which seems to me like the ultimate takeaway: Google doesn't need to engineer mnemonics into its 2FA codes. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, 21 Apr. 2018 Earl helped her fellow students break down the biological processes into mnemonics that would help them remember. Karen Herzog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 16 Jan. 2018 But Bai/bye is a nifty mnemonic, deftly associating the brand’s name with a memorable tune. Seth Stevenson, Slate Magazine, 6 Feb. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mnemonic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of mnemonic


1672, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1842, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mnemonic

Adjective and Noun

Greek mnēmonikos, from mnēmōn mindful, from mimnēskesthai to remember — more at mind

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The first known use of mnemonic was in 1672

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Last Updated

15 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Mnemonic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for mnemonic


mne·​mon·​ic | \ ni-ˈmän-ik How to pronounce mnemonic (audio) \

Medical Definition of mnemonic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : assisting or intended to assist memory also : of or relating to mnemonics
2 : of or relating to memory

Other Words from mnemonic

mnemonically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce mnemonic (audio) \ adverb



Medical Definition of mnemonic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a mnemonic device or code

More from Merriam-Webster on mnemonic

Nglish: Translation of mnemonic for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about mnemonic


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