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 mnemonic (audio) \ adverb

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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

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 Young approached the nonprofit Capitol Hill Arts Workshop with an idea for mnemonic animal signs. Washington Post, 22 July 2021 These items helped their families to survive but also served as mnemonic devices that combated the erasure of their histories, their existence. Washington Post, 9 July 2021 Maguire found that during the period of intense navigational and mnemonic effort involved in studying for the Knowledge, the hippocampi of the trainee drivers grew. Robert Macfarlane, The New York Review of Books, 15 June 2021 These fellows are going to let fly, one last time, before their probable rendezvous with mnemonic erosion. New York Times, 19 Apr. 2021 Zane Fyfe, who is in his sixth year as coach at Apponequet, uses words like animals, or mascots, or mnemonic phrases., 24 Mar. 2021 The mnemonic response grows stronger with every encounter. Apoorva Mandavilli New York Times, Star Tribune, 30 July 2020 This generally means going from the particular to the general (as enshrined in the mnemonic PIG, for particular-inductive-general). Quanta Magazine, 8 June 2017 But Lionel also has a near-perfect echoic memory for words and voices, details and clues erupting in involuntary bursts of sing-songy rhymes that serve, in part, as mnemonic devices. Katie Walsh,, 31 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 There's even a quick mnemonic to help you out: sometimes, always, never. Jonathan Evans, Esquire, 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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The first known use of mnemonic was in 1672

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Last Updated

29 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mnemonic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for mnemonic



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 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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