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

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Other Words from mnemonic


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

Did You Know?


The word mnemonic derives from Greek mnēmōn ("mindful"), which itself comes from the Greek word meaning "to remember." (In classical mythology, Mnemosyne, the mother of the Muses, is the goddess of 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.) "Mnemonic" can also be a noun meaning "a mnemonic device." If the spelling of this word strikes you as particularly fiendish to remember, try this mnemonic to get you started on the right track: keep in mind that although the pronunciation begins with an "n" sound, the spelling begins with an "m," as in "memory."

Examples of mnemonic in a Sentence


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

To ward off migraine attacks, Dr. Newman recommends following the mnemonic SEEDS: Sleep: Get enough sleep and follow roughly the same schedule every day. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Is It a Migraine or a Another Headache? How to Tell the Difference, According to Neurologists," 28 May 2019 Under these conditions test subjects are generally unable to come up with mnemonic devices or use such memory aids as kitchen timers or to-do lists. Nicola Ballhausen, Scientific American, "Foresee and Forget: How to Remember the Future," 7 Mar. 2018 In one of his studies on earworm songs, Lassi Liikkanen of Finland’s Helsinki Institute for Information Technology theorizes that the involuntary bits and bobs that pop into our heads may be mnemonic devices, or memory aids. Markham Heid, Time, "You Asked: Why Do Certain Songs Get Stuck in Your Head?," 24 Jan. 2018 Researchers have explored brain training, mnemonic devices and nootropic drugs. Jeff Kleeman, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Ellen' Producer on How to Work in Hollywood Without Recognizing Anyone (Including Ellen)," 18 Dec. 2017 In an assault Puri urges women who find themselves in threatening situations to remember their WEALTH, a mnemonic device for assessing danger. Andrea Sachs,, "Women who travel share a universal issue: Sexual harassment," 15 Dec. 2017 For the first time, the researchers used brain imaging to reveal that practicing these kinds of mnemonic techniques can actually alter crucial connections to make memorizers’ brains more resemble those of the world's memory champions. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian, "Neuroscientists Unlock the Secrets of Memory Champions," 13 Mar. 2017 If dwarf planets were to be reclassified as planets, as advocates for restoring Pluto to full planethood status hope to do, forget about ever trying to devise a workable mnemonic device. Kenneth Chang, New York Times, "Astronomers Discover New Likely Dwarf Planet, the Latest of Many," 13 July 2016 Ambiguous bumps are often hard to diagnose, but NPR has a handy mnemonic device that can help. 7. Maria Carter, Country Living, "7 Things You Need to Know About the Venomous Spider That Bit Meghan Linsey," 18 Apr. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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, "Forget Passwords. It’s Time for Passphrases.," 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, "Just How Random Are Two Factor Authentication Codes?," 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, "How UWM peer Georgia State figured out how to graduate more black students," 16 Jan. 2018 But Bai/bye is a nifty mnemonic, deftly associating the brand’s name with a memorable tune. Seth Stevenson, Slate Magazine, "The Best and Worst Super Bowl Ads," 6 Feb. 2017 There's even a quick mnemonic to help you out: sometimes, always, never. Jonathan Evans, Esquire, "Stop Buttoning the Bottom Button of Your Jacket," 30 June 2017

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.

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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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Statistics for mnemonic

Last Updated

9 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for mnemonic

The first known use of mnemonic was in 1672

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English Language Learners Definition of mnemonic

: something (such as a word, a sentence, or a song) that helps people remember something (such as a rule or a list of names)


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 mnemonically (audio) \ adverb



Medical Definition of mnemonic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a mnemonic device or code

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mnemonic

Spanish Central: Translation of mnemonic

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

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