[mem-wahr, -wawr]
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  1. a record of events written by a person having intimate knowledge of them and based on personal observation.
  2. Usually memoirs.
    1. an account of one's personal life and experiences; autobiography.
    2. the published record of the proceedings of a group or organization, as of a learned society.
  3. a biography or biographical sketch.

Origin of memoir

1560–70; < French mémoire < Latin memoria; see memory

Synonyms for memoir

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2a. journal, recollections, reminiscences. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for memoirs

Contemporary Examples of memoirs

Historical Examples of memoirs

  • He says in his Memoirs that the only persons she could then trust were himself and Mdlle.


    Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld

  • I often saw him afterwards, and now and again we shall meet him in the pages of my Memoirs.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • But in these Memoirs I have put on one side all that touches the inner part of my life.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • I will include it in these Memoirs, as it cannot but prove entertaining.

    The Memoirs of Madame de Montespan, Complete

    Madame La Marquise De Montespan

  • What would be the use of memoirs from which sincerity were absent?

    The Memoirs of Madame de Montespan, Complete

    Madame La Marquise De Montespan

British Dictionary definitions for memoirs


pl n
  1. a collection of reminiscences about a period, series of events, etc, written from personal experience or special sources
  2. an autobiographical record
  3. a collection or record, as of transactions of a society, etc


  1. a biography or historical account, esp one based on personal knowledge
  2. an essay or monograph, as on a specialized topic
  3. obsolete a memorandum
Derived Formsmemoirist, noun

Word Origin for memoir

C16: from French, from Latin memoria memory
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 memoirs

"personal record of events," 1650s, plural of memoir.



early 15c., "written record," from Anglo-French memorie "note, memorandum, something written to be kept in mind" (early 15c., Old French memoire), from Latin memoria (see memory). Meaning "person's written account of his life" is from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper