Definition of memory in US English:

memory

noun

  • 1The faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information.

    ‘I've a great memory for faces’
    ‘the brain regions responsible for memory’
    ‘my grandmother is losing her memory’
    • ‘I enjoy the music but wish the presenters would give more information on the pieces played because I have a hopeless memory for music titles.’
    • ‘I've a terrible memory for other folk's arrangements.’
    • ‘He's helped by a prodigious memory for names and places and a blotting paper ability to absorb ideas from philosophy, literature and pop culture.’
    • ‘Hi - forgive me for asking, but I have a terrible memory for faces - do I know you from somewhere?’
    • ‘But his biggest advantage is a memory for star patterns which has been likened to that of an autistic savant - which Evans is not.’
    • ‘I started reading, flipping through the pages, startled at my own memory for the things we both wrote about.’
    • ‘Participants were told that they would initially see a list of words and that their memory for these words would be tested.’
    • ‘All creatures do need a memory for basic functioning and survival.’
    • ‘I astound myself with my memory for useless childhood trivia.’
    • ‘No problem there, I have a terrible memory for names so didn't even remember them five seconds after leaving the room.’
    • ‘Their memory for both items and the associated remember or forget cues was then tested with recall and recognition.’
    • ‘His memory for faces, names and incidents and his concern for every individual leaves behind him an indelible impression.’
    • ‘Although he has a terrible memory for most things, Barry can always remember a gag or anecdote.’
    • ‘We have a tendency to think that we have a perfect memory for things, and often times we find we don't.’
    • ‘She still has a great memory for all the old Irish songs and poems.’
    • ‘Participants were not informed that they would later be given a test of their memory for the scene.’
    • ‘As I said, it was a long time ago, and you must forgive me if I've forgotten the exact order; my memory for these things is not what it was.’
    • ‘My memory for wild plant names has never been good.’
    • ‘Thanking her good memory for remembering roughly which way to go, she set of at a jog.’
    • ‘Immediately after presentation of the study stimulus subjects had their memory for pairs tested.’
    1. 1.1 The mind regarded as a store of things remembered.
      ‘he searched his memory frantically for an answer’
      • ‘Darren paused, looking like he was searching his memory until he looked at little confused.’
      • ‘The odd question took Rezo by surprise, but he put a hand under his chin and glanced toward the ceiling as he searched his memory.’
      • ‘She blinked and searched her memory, wondering how she'd gotten there.’
      • ‘I searched my memory, but, as far as I could tell, I had never seen her before.’
      • ‘And yet as I searched my hazy memory, I felt my brain cloud over, as if I had stood up too quickly.’
      • ‘He searched his memory as to who had accompanied him on the day he gave the defendant money for the ticket.’
      • ‘Williams searched his memory, trying to remember what he did in this situation eleven years ago.’
      • ‘He sifted through his memory, searching for the key that would unlock the knowledge.’
      • ‘Ilse strained her memory, searching for a glimpse of his face somewhere.’
      • ‘He describes his experience of searching his memory and finds that what comes to mind is not what he intended.’
      • ‘Stagecoach, my memory recalls, first became known for its bargain-fare buses from Perth to London.’
      • ‘Mr Jackson, who is 83 and now lives in Holgate, has dug deep into his memory and recalled some of the names of his schoolmates shown here.’
      • ‘Scully's mind immediately searched through her long memory, calculating.’
      • ‘I watch the, windows, searching my memory to see if we've been here before.’
      • ‘Searching his memory, he realized with mounting dismay that he didn't remember the phone number.’
      • ‘He searched his memory and suddenly remembered a Sunday evening when he and Cam were seniors at Sacred Heart High School.’
      • ‘Whenever anyone glanced at him he searched his memory frantically to see if he recognised them.’
      • ‘I searched my memory quickly, trying to remember who I would have introduced her to.’
      • ‘He searched his memory, sending hot spears of pain through his head.’
      • ‘I'm searching through my memory to try to figure out why on Earth I'd start to write poetry again.’
      ability to remember, powers of recall, recall, powers of retention, retention, mind
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  • 2Something remembered from the past; a recollection.

    ‘one of my earliest memories is of sitting on his knee’
    ‘the mind can bury all memory of traumatic abuse’
    • ‘It is true that memories and past experiences often have to be reassessed in the light of new situations.’
    • ‘And where there aren't flowers there are promises of flowers to come, or memories of flowers past.’
    • ‘She grimaced at the memory; the past always seemed to hurt her!’
    • ‘I knew almost instantly that the dream had been a memory of a past life and seemed to be of some importance.’
    • ‘The great cedars that were so much a part of the Quinault past are mostly a memory now.’
    • ‘His memories of the past and thoughts of the future took on a negative spin.’
    • ‘She took the time to reflect upon her own past too and the memory she dug up wasn't a pleasant one.’
    • ‘Imagine groggily waking up in a strange house, surrounded by unfamiliar faces, with not a single memory of the past ten hours.’
    • ‘Eastbrook Hall is a very lively church, and the memory of past association with it is always most pleasant to folk who are now far away.’
    • ‘A dark memory from his past kept him from doing this, one he wouldn't share with anyone, not even his best friend.’
    • ‘It's easier to bask in the memory of a glorious past than to confront some of the myths we continue to cherish in the present.’
    • ‘And she would always whisper something of a past memory, perhaps a name, just before deep slumber.’
    • ‘Most of the older people can only think back and sigh about memories of the past, their youth.’
    • ‘Sinead said all her past memories of the school came flooding back during her visit.’
    • ‘I will not be visiting the Glen again; just sticking to past happy memories.’
    • ‘There was a younger version of him; it looked as if he was reliving a past memory.’
    • ‘What happened during that week was just a bad memory in the past.’
    • ‘Litse sat up confused but the memory of the past eight days flew to the front of her mind.’
    • ‘I have no recollection of my past memories, except periodic flashbacks of my previous life.’
    • ‘How we all love to reflect on past memories, a crazy trip to Barcelona and all that fun past we shared.’
    recollection, remembrance, reminiscence, evocation, reminder, souvenir, echo, impression
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    1. 2.1 The remembering or recollection of a dead person, especially one who was popular or respected.
      ‘clubs devoted to the memory of Sherlock Holmes’
      • ‘There had been victory parades in July 1919-but every hamlet had its dead and their memory in perpetuity.’
      • ‘A candlelit vigil took place in Huyton last night, one week after the alleged assault, to honour the dead teenager's memory.’
      • ‘A protest group will be travelling from Killala to Dublin by bus to highlight the campaign to save her birthplace and honour her memory in a fitting way.’
      • ‘The memory of dead relatives and cancer survivors will be celebrated with a huge Christmas tree outside Safeways in Wimbledon town centre next month.’
      • ‘Fellow students wanting to honour Venesha's memory broached the subject of taking on a project in her name.’
      • ‘At the group's last meeting, sympathy was extended to his wife, Alice, and family and a minute's silence was observed in his memory.’
      • ‘The cemetery is a sacred place that honours the memory of the beloved dead.’
      • ‘At the Anderson family's request, family and friends gave money rather than flowers to honour Michelle's memory at her funeral.’
      • ‘Burial in monastic ground was valued because of the importance of prayer in sustaining memory of the dead.’
      • ‘A wife's quest to honour her husband's memory came to fruition on Friday evening when an impressive new Grotto was unveiled in Bangor.’
      • ‘The memory of the dead is respected, by visitor and host alike.’
      • ‘I've instructed all agencies to honor their memory by treating the dead with the dignity and respect they deserve.’
      • ‘They stuck by Healy until his death in 1989 and continued to revere his memory thereafter.’
      • ‘Teams want to help keep Joel's memory alive by continuing his work, and the response really has been something else.’
      • ‘Our challenge may be to honour Robert's memory by doing everything we can to restore those values.’
      • ‘It's no surprise, either, that so many prominent actors and musicians gathered to honour McGrath's memory by performing from his work.’
      • ‘The event is a way for Michelle and Mathew to honour their son's memory and give something back to the children's ward where they spent so much time.’
      • ‘We're looking at ways of commemorating his memory in a lasting way in the school and will decide on something definite in the coming weeks.’
      • ‘Mr Smith said he was pleased that his son's memory could be commemorated in a positive and constructive manner.’
      • ‘Now there are moves to honour Brother Walfrid's memory with a statue outside Parkhead.’
      commemoration, remembrance, honour, tribute, recognition, observance, respect
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    2. 2.2 The length of time over which people continue to remember a person or event.
      ‘the worst slump in recent memory’
      • ‘The baseball writers were calling it one of the most exciting seasons in recent memory, and I could see why.’
      • ‘Mushroom pickers are hailing this autumn's harvests as among the best in recent memory.’
      • ‘After one of the most hectic holiday seasons in recent memory, many of us have settled in for equally hectic work schedules.’
      • ‘Shrek was one of the most widely loved animated movies in recent memory - loved by children, adults and critics alike.’
      • ‘Groundsmen were left working overtime enable matches to go ahead as one of the worst summers in recent memory produced another week of heavy rain.’
      • ‘Seldom have I seen soccer of such supreme quality in recent memory.’
      • ‘How about something to help with your short-term memory while you are continually interrupted?’
      • ‘The centre of Kirkby Stephen also flooded for the first time in many residents' memory leaving homes without electricity or running water over the weekend.’
      • ‘Prices have scarcely risen over the past year, while rents are at their softest in recent memory.’
      • ‘In recent memory, in the lifetime of our previous dog, an unlikable Sealyham, we had nearly come to blows.’
      • ‘Although everything happened in the space of a few seconds, at the time, and in my consequent memory, the events seemed to take a long time to unfold.’
      • ‘The winter of the fifth year is colder than any other winter in recent memory.’
      • ‘They produced one of their worst quarters in recent memory, failing to kick a goal while South got within striking distance of an unlikely victory.’
      • ‘But, even in adults, memory for recent events is transient unless it is refreshed by rehearsal.’
      • ‘Exports are expected to plunge 16% this year and business confidence is at its worst in recent memory.’
      • ‘The Sonics have had one of their most tumultuous seasons in recent memory, including a coaching and ownership change.’
      • ‘A patient with moderate or severe AD is unlikely to sustain memory of an event that occurs while in this stage.’
      • ‘With only six games remaining, the Warriors have put together one of the most impressive seasons in recent memory.’
      • ‘So here it is: the opening salvo in what looks to be the worst summer-movie season in recent memory.’
      • ‘Despite the brightest and most competitive opening to a season in recent memory, crowds watching Premier League games are down.’
  • 3The part of a computer in which data or program instructions can be stored for retrieval.

    • ‘During an initialization phase, an access code is stored in a memory of a computer system.’
    • ‘Information on how addresses are translated is kept in a set of page tables stored in main memory.’
    • ‘A reconnaissance satellite, placed into orbit years ago, captures the entire scene in its computer memory.’
    • ‘Thanks to virtual memory technology, software can use more memory than is physically present.’
    • ‘When the light pulse stops, its information is suspended and stored, just as information is stored in the memory of a computer.’
    memory bank, store, cache, disk, ram, rom
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    1. 3.1 Capacity for storing information on a computer.
      ‘the module provides 16Mb of memory’
      • ‘Depending on the level, you will have different amounts of system memory in which to store your subroutines.’
      • ‘The latest MP3 technology compresses all superfluous parts of a sound signal to reduce the amount of memory needed to store digital information.’
      • ‘There is a virtual hard drive available in the Internet with plenty of memory to store personal information.’
      • ‘They don't even have the hard drive space and memory that regular laptops have.’
      • ‘The combined system will contain 50 terabytes of memory and two petabytes of disk storage.’

Phrases

  • from memory

    • Without reading or referring to notes.

      ‘each child was required to recite a verse from memory’
      • ‘Briefly stated, here is Bob's argument as I heard it, and set out as faithfully as I can from memory and a few scribbled notes.’
      • ‘But I'm only working from memory and it's not something I really want to do an experiment with here at my desk.’
      • ‘It is significant that on hearing of the death of Lacy, Bacon should have painted a triptych portrait of the dead man from memory.’
      • ‘It is one of the few documents in American history which can be quoted by people from memory.’
      • ‘Lily and Eric Clarke found him there one day, draped in an old curtain reciting Shakespeare from memory.’
      • ‘Rae chuckled and began to recite his shopping list from memory and certain calculations he had made.’
      • ‘Whether she was quoting from memory or reading from the open book beside the phone, I was impressed by the trouble she had taken.’
      • ‘Instead, he went to sit next to her at the table, watched her copying down her notes from memory.’
      • ‘He is able to make several designs from memory and enjoys doing it.’
      • ‘As the verses flowed from memory, he closed his eyes, concentrating on the words and melody.’
      mechanically, automatically, without thinking, unthinkingly, parrot-fashion, mindlessly
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  • in memory of

    • Intended to remind people of, especially to honor a dead person.

      • ‘Ceremonies in memory of the dead are held on the seventh and hundredth days after death.’
      • ‘The pub has held a collection and will be planting a memorial tree in front of the building in memory of Philip.’
      • ‘Hymns and prayers were said in memory of those who died in battle and those who fought and survived.’
      • ‘Now a new fisherman's memorial is to be built there in memory of the thousands who never made it home.’
      • ‘In Westhoughton, young children read out the roll of honour and lit candles in memory of those who died.’
      • ‘Also of interest was a monument erected in memory of all those who had died at sea.’
      • ‘Oak, rowan and birch trees can be bought in memory of a loved one or to celebrate an anniversary or birthday.’
      • ‘After the formalities a tree was planted in memory of all the people who had lost their lives in the river.’
      • ‘In the cool, marble-floored interior women in saris lit hundreds of small oil lamps in memory of the dead.’
      • ‘Thoughts turned to years gone by and prayers were said in memory of those who had started it all.’
      memorial, remembrance, celebratory, celebrative
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  • take a trip (or walk) down memory lane

    • Deliberately recall pleasant or sentimental memories.

      • ‘Reminiscing about long forgotten names, lost to many in Portlaoise, but not to the Marian Avenue residents, they took a trip down memory lane.’
      • ‘In the past, the participating cars have been models between the 1914-1962 time frame, giving the audiences not just a chance to see and feel a different time but also take a trip down memory lane.’
      • ‘Mr. Karunakaran took a trip down memory lane, recalling his early days as an ordinary worker of the Indian National Congress, and then as a trade union leader before reaching the higher echelons of power, both in the State and at the Centre.’
      • ‘Former Bradford pupils from around the world took a trip down memory lane with a visit to their old school - 40 years after they left.’
      • ‘As the countdown to Tullow Community School's reunion begins in earnest, it seems everyone is taking a trip down memory lane to rekindle their school days.’
      • ‘And Laura Mason will be taking a trip down memory lane to show how the pancheon (a coarse earthenware pan) was used as a bread-proving pot in traditional farmhouse kitchens.’
      • ‘The old school bell rang once more as the Taugheen Young at Heart group took a trip down memory lane in a ‘Back to School’ special.’
      • ‘As she takes a trip down memory lane to tell us how it all began one afternoon in Baramulla, Paro is candid without being outspoken, and beguilingly seems to hold back as much as she shares.’
      • ‘Now a local antiques dealer is helping movie buffs to take a trip down memory lane by making the refreshment room at Carnforth railway station appear just how it did in the 1945 film.’
      • ‘A number of visitors to the area over the last few weeks were taking a trip down memory lane by coming back to their original roots.’
      recall, call to mind, recollect, think of
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Origin

Middle English: from Old French memorie, from Latin memoria, from memor ‘mindful, remembering’.

Pronunciation

memory

/ˈmɛm(ə)ri//ˈmem(ə)rē/