Definition of memory in English:



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

    ‘I've a great memory for faces’
    ‘my grandmother is losing her memory’
    [mass noun] ‘the brain regions responsible for memory’
    • ‘I've a terrible memory for other folk's arrangements.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All creatures do need a memory for basic functioning and survival.’
    • ‘Thanking her good memory for remembering roughly which way to go, she set of at a jog.’
    • ‘Hi - forgive me for asking, but I have a terrible memory for faces - do I know you from somewhere?’
    • ‘Immediately after presentation of the study stimulus subjects had their memory for pairs tested.’
    • ‘I started reading, flipping through the pages, startled at my own memory for the things we both wrote about.’
    • ‘My memory for wild plant names has never been good.’
    • ‘She still has a great memory for all the old Irish songs and poems.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘No problem there, I have a terrible memory for names so didn't even remember them five seconds after leaving the room.’
    • ‘I astound myself with my memory for useless childhood trivia.’
    • ‘Participants were not informed that they would later be given a test of their memory for the scene.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Their memory for both items and the associated remember or forget cues was then tested with recall and recognition.’
    • ‘But his biggest advantage is a memory for star patterns which has been likened to that of an autistic savant - which Evans is not.’
    • ‘Participants were told that they would initially see a list of words and that their memory for these words would be tested.’
    1. 1.1The mind regarded as a store of things remembered.
      ‘he searched his memory frantically for an answer’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He searched his memory and suddenly remembered a Sunday evening when he and Cam were seniors at Sacred Heart High School.’
      • ‘He sifted through his memory, searching for the key that would unlock the knowledge.’
      • ‘I watch the, windows, searching my memory to see if we've been here before.’
      • ‘Darren paused, looking like he was searching his memory until he looked at little confused.’
      • ‘Williams searched his memory, trying to remember what he did in this situation eleven years ago.’
      • ‘I searched my memory, but, as far as I could tell, I had never seen her before.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I'm searching through my memory to try to figure out why on Earth I'd start to write poetry again.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Searching his memory, he realized with mounting dismay that he didn't remember the phone number.’
      • ‘Whenever anyone glanced at him he searched his memory frantically to see if he recognised them.’
      • ‘And yet as I searched my hazy memory, I felt my brain cloud over, as if I had stood up too quickly.’
      • ‘Scully's mind immediately searched through her long memory, calculating.’
      • ‘He searched his memory, sending hot spears of pain through his head.’
      • ‘I searched my memory quickly, trying to remember who I would have introduced her to.’
      • ‘She blinked and searched her memory, wondering how she'd gotten there.’
      • ‘He searched his memory as to who had accompanied him on the day he gave the defendant money for the ticket.’
      • ‘Stagecoach, my memory recalls, first became known for its bargain-fare buses from Perth to London.’
      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’
    [mass noun] ‘the mind can bury all memory of traumatic abuse’
    • ‘I knew almost instantly that the dream had been a memory of a past life and seemed to be of some importance.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Most of the older people can only think back and sigh about memories of the past, their youth.’
    • ‘A dark memory from his past kept him from doing this, one he wouldn't share with anyone, not even his best friend.’
    • ‘And where there aren't flowers there are promises of flowers to come, or memories of flowers past.’
    • ‘Imagine groggily waking up in a strange house, surrounded by unfamiliar faces, with not a single memory of the past ten hours.’
    • ‘She grimaced at the memory; the past always seemed to hurt her!’
    • ‘I have no recollection of my past memories, except periodic flashbacks of my previous life.’
    • ‘The great cedars that were so much a part of the Quinault past are mostly a memory now.’
    • ‘How we all love to reflect on past memories, a crazy trip to Barcelona and all that fun past we shared.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His memories of the past and thoughts of the future took on a negative spin.’
    • ‘And she would always whisper something of a past memory, perhaps a name, just before deep slumber.’
    • ‘It is true that memories and past experiences often have to be reassessed in the light of new situations.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Litse sat up confused but the memory of the past eight days flew to the front of her mind.’
    • ‘She took the time to reflect upon her own past too and the memory she dug up wasn't a pleasant one.’
    • ‘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.’
    recollection, remembrance, reminiscence, evocation, reminder, souvenir, echo, impression
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    1. 2.1The remembering or recollection of a dead person, especially one who was popular or respected.
      ‘clubs devoted to the memory of Sherlock Holmes’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Burial in monastic ground was valued because of the importance of prayer in sustaining memory of the dead.’
      • ‘The memory of dead relatives and cancer survivors will be celebrated with a huge Christmas tree outside Safeways in Wimbledon town centre next month.’
      • ‘It's no surprise, either, that so many prominent actors and musicians gathered to honour McGrath's memory by performing from his work.’
      • ‘At the Anderson family's request, family and friends gave money rather than flowers to honour Michelle's memory at her funeral.’
      • ‘Now there are moves to honour Brother Walfrid's memory with a statue outside Parkhead.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Fellow students wanting to honour Venesha's memory broached the subject of taking on a project in her name.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Our challenge may be to honour Robert's memory by doing everything we can to restore those values.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The cemetery is a sacred place that honours the memory of the beloved dead.’
      • ‘The memory of the dead is respected, by visitor and host alike.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I've instructed all agencies to honor their memory by treating the dead with the dignity and respect they deserve.’
      • ‘Mr Smith said he was pleased that his son's memory could be commemorated in a positive and constructive manner.’
      commemoration, remembrance, honour, tribute, recognition, observance, respect
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    2. 2.2The length of time over which people continue to remember a person or event.
      ‘the worst slump in recent memory’
      • ‘In recent memory, in the lifetime of our previous dog, an unlikable Sealyham, we had nearly come to blows.’
      • ‘Despite the brightest and most competitive opening to a season in recent memory, crowds watching Premier League games are down.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Mushroom pickers are hailing this autumn's harvests as among the best in recent memory.’
      • ‘Shrek was one of the most widely loved animated movies in recent memory - loved by children, adults and critics alike.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘How about something to help with your short-term memory while you are continually interrupted?’
      • ‘So here it is: the opening salvo in what looks to be the worst summer-movie season in recent memory.’
      • ‘The Sonics have had one of their most tumultuous seasons in recent memory, including a coaching and ownership change.’
      • ‘Seldom have I seen soccer of such supreme quality in recent memory.’
      • ‘Exports are expected to plunge 16% this year and business confidence is at its worst 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After one of the most hectic holiday seasons in recent memory, many of us have settled in for equally hectic work schedules.’
      • ‘Prices have scarcely risen over the past year, while rents are at their softest in recent memory.’
      • ‘The winter of the fifth year is colder than any other winter in recent memory.’
      • ‘But, even in adults, memory for recent events is transient unless it is refreshed by rehearsal.’
      • ‘The baseball writers were calling it one of the most exciting seasons in recent memory, and I could see why.’
  • 3The part of a computer in which data or program instructions can be stored for retrieval.

    • ‘Thanks to virtual memory technology, software can use more memory than is physically present.’
    • ‘During an initialization phase, an access code is stored in a memory of a computer system.’
    • ‘A reconnaissance satellite, placed into orbit years ago, captures the entire scene in its computer memory.’
    • ‘Information on how addresses are translated is kept in a set of page tables stored in main memory.’
    • ‘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. 3.1Capacity for storing information on a computer.
      ‘the module provides 16Mb of memory’
      • ‘The combined system will contain 50 terabytes of memory and two petabytes of disk storage.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Depending on the level, you will have different amounts of system memory in which to store your subroutines.’


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