Definition of memorandum in English:



  • 1A written message, especially in business or diplomacy.

    ‘he told them of his decision in a memorandum’
    • ‘Government has approved a Cabinet memorandum to turn the National Council for Construction into a statutory body.’
    • ‘After it was over, the focus-group research company ground out a report, which was then incorporated into memoranda at the client company and the advertising agency.’
    • ‘His involvement in high politics started in 1584, when he wrote his first political memorandum, A Letter of Advice to Queen Elizabeth.’
    • ‘A march held last week handed over a memorandum to business and government, demanding a halt to job losses.’
    • ‘The chairman of the multilateral talks, Pierre Girard, a Swiss diplomat, circulated a memorandum Tuesday to member states to reconvene the meeting, according to the sources.’
    message, communication, note, email, letter, epistle, missive
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    1. 1.1A note or record made for future use.
      ‘the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on economic cooperation’
      • ‘He and Paek on Saturday also signed a memorandum of understanding that will establish a regular consultation mechanism between their countries' foreign ministries.’
      • ‘Government agencies will sign a memorandum of understanding to commit to the plan, and a committee will make regular reports to the community.’
      • ‘The department and the municipality have signed a memorandum of understanding identifying an urgent need for relocation, provision and supply of decent houses to flood victims.’
      • ‘The group is believed to have signed a memorandum of understanding with an aircraft company for the provision of aircraft.’
      • ‘Several of Johannesburg's agencies have signed a memorandum of understanding to support a City strategy aimed at creating an investor-friendly environment.’
      record, minute, note, contract, agreement
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    2. 1.2Law A document recording the terms of a contract or other legal details.
      • ‘No written contract had been executed between the two merging companies, only a four- or five-page memorandum recorded the basic terms, and that went unsigned.’
      • ‘This memorandum specified a lease term of one year with no provision for any option to renew.’
      • ‘Did you need to lodge a certificate of title with a memorandum of lease to effect its registration?’
      • ‘Certainly the borrower will be liable for them since the information memorandum is its document, designed to be distributed to potential members of the syndicate.’
      • ‘Because the memorandum and articles of the company are public documents, filed with the registrar of companies, the courts treated the public as knowing their contents, even if they had not read them.’


Late Middle English: from Latin, literally something to be brought to mind gerundive of memorare. The original use was as an adjective, placed at the head of a note of something to be remembered or of a record made for future reference.