short-term memory


Definition of short-term memory

: memory that involves recall of information for a relatively short time (such as a few seconds) But short-term memory is the primary bottleneck in human information processing. Only a few items—the usual estimate is seven, plus or minus two—can be held in mind at once, and the items are immediately subject to fading or being overwritten.— Steven Pinker abbreviation STM — compare long-term memory, working memory

Examples of short-term memory in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Although not a prequel to Finding Nemo, Finding Dory tells Dory's story, and opens with the baby blue tang (who suffers from short-term memory loss) playing in a tank with her parents. Skyler Caruso,, 29 Oct. 2021 While a computer’s RAM is essentially its short-term memory, storage is its long-term memory. Maren Estrada, BGR, 23 Sep. 2021 Her speech, her motor functions, her short-term memory — everything is pretty much recovered. Tricia Despres,, 30 July 2021 Despite urging from patients, the King’s College team left out many of the most common symptoms, including brain fog and short-term memory loss. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, 1 Sep. 2021 Even as the Yankees are struggling with confidence and morale, Judge believes in the importance of having a short-term memory, honesty with teammates, picking each other up, and being prepared for the next pitch. Forbes, 31 May 2021 Neurological symptoms: forgetfulness, short-term memory loss or confusion/brain fog. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 24 July 2021 Mary Ertle, program manager for Alzheimer’s Association Cleveland Area Chapter, said that short-term memory is lost first with dementia, and this program will help bring out long-term memories, through baseball. cleveland, 23 Apr. 2021 Working on puzzles can improve your mental speed and short-term memory. Denise Russo, Forbes, 20 May 2021

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

See More

First Known Use of short-term memory

1948, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About short-term memory

Time Traveler for short-term memory

Time Traveler

The first known use of short-term memory was in 1948

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near short-term memory


short-term memory

short-term note

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for short-term memory

Last Updated

6 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Short-term memory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for short-term memory

short-term memory


Medical Definition of short-term memory

: memory that involves recall of information for a relatively short time (as a few seconds) The standard view, repeated in almost every psychology textbook, is that the ordinary limit on short-term memory is for seven or so bits of information—the length of a phone number.— Daniel Goleman, The New York Times, 11 Oct. 1994 Short-term memory is closely linked to working memory, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. There is a difference, however: short-term memory refers to the passive storage and recall of information from the immediate past, whereas working memory refers to the active processes involved in manipulating this information.— Jonathan K. Foster, New Scientist, 3 Dec. 2011 abbreviation STM — compare long-term memory


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!