[ mem-uh-ree ]
See synonyms for: memorymemories on

noun,plural mem·o·ries.
  1. the mental capacity or faculty of retaining and reviving facts, events, impressions, etc., or of recalling or recognizing previous experiences.

  2. this faculty as possessed by a particular individual: to have a good memory.

  1. the act or fact of retaining and recalling impressions, facts, etc.; remembrance; recollection: to draw from memory.

  2. the length of time over which recollection extends: a time within the memory of living persons.

  3. a mental impression retained; a recollection: one's earliest memories.

  4. the reputation of a person or thing, especially after death; fame: a ruler of beloved memory.

  5. the state or fact of being remembered.

  6. a person, thing, event, fact, etc., remembered.

  7. commemorative remembrance; commemoration: a monument in memory of Columbus.

  8. the ability of certain materials to return to an original shape after deformation.

  9. Also called computer memory, storage. Computers.

    • the capacity of a computer to store information subject to recall.

    • the components of the computer in which such information is stored.

  10. Rhetoric. the step in the classical preparation of a speech in which the wording is memorized.

Origin of memory

First recorded in 1275–1325; Middle English memorie, from Latin memoria, equivalent to memor “mindful, remembering” + -ia -y3

Words Nearby memory Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use memory in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for memory


/ (ˈmɛmərɪ) /

nounplural -ries
    • the ability of the mind to store and recall past sensations, thoughts, knowledge, etc: he can do it from memory

    • the part of the brain that appears to have this function

  1. the sum of everything retained by the mind

  1. a particular recollection of an event, person, etc

  2. the time over which recollection extends: within his memory

  3. commemoration or remembrance: in memory of our leader

  4. the state of being remembered, as after death

  5. Also called: RAM, main store, store a part of a computer in which information is stored for immediate use by the central processing unit: See also backing store, virtual storage

  6. the tendency for a material, system, etc, to show effects that depend on its past treatment or history

  7. the ability of a material, etc, to return to a former state after a constraint has been removed

Origin of memory

C14: from Old French memorie, from Latin memoria, from memor mindful

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

Scientific definitions for memory


[ mĕmə-rē ]

    • The ability to remember past experiences or learned information, involving advanced mental processes such as learning, retention, recall, and recognition and resulting from chemical changes between neurons in several different areas of the brain, including the hippocampus. Immediate memory lasts for just a few seconds. Short-term memory stores information that has been minimally processed and is available only for a few minutes, as in remembering a phone number just long enough to use it. Short-term memory is transferred into long-term memory, which can last for many years, only when repeated use of the information facilitates neurochemical changes that allow it to be retained. The loss of memory because of disease or injury is called amnesia.

    • The collection of information gained from past learning or experience that is stored in a person's mind.

    • A piece of information, such as the mental image of an experience, that is stored in the memory.

    • A part of a computer in which data is stored for later use.

    • The capacity of a computer, chips, and storage devices to preserve data and programs for retrieval. Memory is measured in bytes. See more at hard disk RAM ROM.

  1. The capacity of a material, such as plastic or metal, to return to a previous shape or condition.

  2. The capacity of the immune system to produce a specific immune response to an antigen it has previously encountered.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with memory


see commit to memory; in memory of.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.