memory

noun
mem·​o·​ry | \ ˈmem-rē How to pronounce memory (audio) , ˈme-mə- \
plural memories

Essential Meaning of memory

1 : the power or process of remembering what has been learned He began to lose his memory as he grew older. He has an excellent memory for faces. [=he is very good at remembering faces] See More ExamplesThose people have long memories. [=they remember things that happened long ago] She has a short memory. [=she forgets things quickly] Dad has a selective memory: he remembers the times he was right and forgets the times he was wrong. They claim that these pills can improve (the) memory. short-term/long-term memory He committed the speech to memory. [=he memorized the speech] If memory serves (me rightly/correctly), his name is John. [=if I remember accurately, his name is John]Hide
2 : something that is remembered We have pleasant memories of the trip. trying to repress bitter/painful memories See More Exampleschildhood memories His name evokes memories of a happier time. That time is just a dim/faint memory to me now.Hide
3 : the things learned and kept in the mind The happiness of those times is still vivid in my memory. Her name has faded from memory. See More ExamplesI seem to have very little memory of that time in my life. Her name has faded from my memory. [=I cannot remember her name] That tragic day has become part of our collective memory. [=it is something that we all remember] He has no memory of what happened. [=he does not remember what happened] I can't remember exactly how much it costs. Could you refresh my memory? [=remind me] The sudden shock jogged his memory and everything came flooding back into his mind.Hide

Full Definition of memory

1a : the power or process of reproducing or recalling what has been learned and retained especially through associative mechanisms began to lose his memory as he grew older
b : the store of things learned and retained from an organism's activity or experience as evidenced by modification of structure or behavior or by recall and recognition has a good memory for faces
2a : commemorative remembrance erected a statue in memory of the hero
b : the fact or condition of being remembered days of recent memory
3a : a particular act of recall or recollection has no memory of the event
b : an image or impression of one that is remembered fond memories of her youth
c : the time within which past events can be or are remembered within the memory of living men
4a : a device (such as a chip) or a component of an electronic device (such as a computer or smartphone) in which information can be inserted and stored and from which it may be extracted when wanted especially : ram
b : capacity for storing information 512 megabytes of memory
5 : a capacity for showing effects as the result of past treatment or for returning to a former condition used especially of a material (such as metal or plastic)

Choose the Right Synonym for memory

memory, remembrance, recollection, reminiscence 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 remembrance applies to the act of remembering or the fact of being remembered. any remembrance of his deceased wife was painful recollection adds an implication of consciously bringing back to mind often with some effort. after a moment's recollection he produced the name reminiscence suggests the recalling of usually pleasant incidents, experiences, or feelings from a remote past. my grandmother's reminiscences of her Iowa girlhood

Examples of memory in a Sentence

He began to lose his memory as he grew older. Dad has a selective memory: he remembers the times he was right and forgets the times he was wrong. We have pleasant memories of the trip. trying to repress bitter memories His name evokes memories of a happier time. That time is just a dim memory to me now. The happiness of those times is still vivid in my memory. Her name has faded from memory. I seem to have very little memory of that time in my life. The sudden shock jogged his memory and everything came flooding back into his mind.
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Recent Examples on the Web But today, with U.S.-Chinese relations at one of the lowest points in recent memory—and as the Chinese military takes increasingly provocative military actions toward Taiwan—the fears of war have increased. Michael A. Cohen, The New Republic, 19 Nov. 2021 The result, from the empathetic verité to the aesthetic diversity of the various scenes, is one of the more extraordinary cinematic hybrids of form and feeling in recent memory. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2021 Spears said in an Instagram video, speaking more freely than ever before in recent memory. Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety, 17 Nov. 2021 However, the list of such one-off seats will be smaller than most years in recent memory with at least 25 full-time cars and the chance of 26 or 27. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 17 Nov. 2021 Catherine spends a good portion of the season pregnant, and it’s one of the most idiosyncratic and tonally effective TV pregnancies in recent memory. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, 17 Nov. 2021 This holiday season is sure to be one of the most stressful in recent memory now that many people are more comfortable traveling. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 16 Nov. 2021 The worst attack in recent memory in Uganda was a 2010 bombing of multiple bars by the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab. Washington Post, 16 Nov. 2021 Scrambling to hold onto their jobs, workers started taking on extra responsibilities—something many of them hold onto today even though the economy has shifted into one of its strongest periods in recent memory. Fortune, 15 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'memory.' 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 memory

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for memory

Middle English memorie, from Anglo-French memoire, memorie, from Latin memoria, from memor mindful; akin to Old English gemimor well-known, Greek mermēra care, Sanskrit smarati he remembers

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Time Traveler for memory

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The first known use of memory was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near memory

memorize

memory

memory bank

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Last Updated

23 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Memory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/memory. Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for memory

memory

noun
mem·​o·​ry | \ ˈme-mə-rē How to pronounce memory (audio) , ˈmem-rē \
plural memories

Kids Definition of memory

1 : the power or process of remembering She has a bad memory for names.
2 : the store of things learned and kept in the mind … Botticelli … recited from memory all the confessions he had heard from prisoners.— Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux
3 : the act of remembering and honoring The statue is in memory of a great soldier.
4 : something remembered a pleasant memory
5 : the time within which past events are remembered What happened is not within the memory of any living person.
6 : a device or part in a computer which can receive and store information for use when wanted random-access memory
7 : capacity for storing information The computer has 512 megabytes of memory.

memory

noun
mem·​o·​ry | \ ˈmem-(ə-)rē How to pronounce memory (audio) \
plural memories

Medical Definition of memory

1a : the power or process of reproducing or recalling what has been learned and retained especially through associative mechanisms
b : the store of things learned and retained from an organism's activity or experience as indicated by modification of structure or behavior or by recall and recognition
2 : a capacity for showing effects as the result of past treatment or for returning to a former condition used especially of a material (as metal or plastic)

More from Merriam-Webster on memory

Nglish: Translation of memory for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of memory for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about memory

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