[ am-nee-zhuh ]
/ æmˈni ʒə /


loss of a large block of interrelated memories; complete or partial loss of memory caused by brain injury, shock, etc.


Nearby words

  1. ammophilous,
  2. ammunition,
  3. amn,
  4. amn't,
  5. amne machin shan,
  6. amnesiac,
  7. amnesic,
  8. amnestic,
  9. amnestic aphasia,
  10. amnestic syndrome

Origin of amnesia

1780–90; < New Latin < Greek amnēsía, variant of amnēstía oblivion; perhaps learnedly formed from mnē-, stem of mimnḗskesthai to remember (cf. mnemonic) + -s- + -ia -ia. See amnesty

Related formsam·nes·tic [am-nes-tik] /æmˈnɛs tɪk/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for amnesia

British Dictionary definitions for amnesia


/ (æmˈniːzjə, -ʒjə, -zɪə) /


a defect in memory, esp one resulting from pathological cause, such as brain damage or hysteria
Derived Formsamnesiac (æmˈniːzɪˌæk) or amnesic (æmˈniːsɪk, -zɪk), adjective, noun

Word Origin for amnesia

C19: via New Latin from Greek: forgetfulness, probably from amnēstia oblivion; see amnesty

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for amnesia



"loss of memory," 1786 (as a Greek word in English from 1670s), Modern Latin, coined from Greek amnesia "forgetfulness," from a-, privative prefix, "not" (see a- (3)) + mimneskesthai "to recall, cause to remember," a reduplicated form related to Greek mnemnon "mindful," mneme "memory," mnasthai "to remember;" from PIE root *men- "to think, remember" (see mind (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for amnesia


[ ăm-nēzhə ]


The loss or impairment of memory.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for amnesia


[ ăm-nēzhə ]

Partial or total loss of memory, usually caused by brain injury or shock.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for amnesia


[ (am-nee-zhuh) ]

A loss of memory, especially one brought on by some distressing or shocking experience.


A common variant is selective amnesia; the term is applied to public officials who, when questioned about alleged wrongdoing, profess that they cannot remember.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.