memory

1
as in recollection
the power or process of recalling what has been previously learned or experienced a photographic memory makes taking tests entirely too easy

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2
as in memorial
a particular act or instance of recalling or the thing remembered I have only the vaguest memory of the family vacation we took the year I turned three

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How is the word memory distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of memory are recollection, remembrance, and reminiscence. While all these words mean "the capacity for or the act of remembering, or the thing remembered," memory applies both to the power of remembering and to what is remembered.

gifted with a remarkable memory
that incident was now just a distant memory

When is it sensible to use recollection instead of memory?

While the synonyms recollection and memory are close in meaning, recollection adds an implication of consciously bringing back to mind often with some effort.

after a moment's recollection he produced the name

When is remembrance a more appropriate choice than memory?

The words remembrance and memory are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, remembrance applies to the act of remembering or the fact of being remembered.

any remembrance of his deceased wife was painful

When might reminiscence be a better fit than memory?

The words reminiscence and memory can be used in similar contexts, but reminiscence suggests the recalling of usually pleasant incidents, experiences, or feelings from a remote past.

my grandmother's reminiscences of her Iowa girlhood

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Cite this Entry

“Memory.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/memory. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

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