Meaning of MEMORY in English


mem ‧ o ‧ ry S2 W1 /ˈmem ə ri/ BrE AmE noun ( plural memories )

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ memorial , ↑ memory , ↑ memo , ↑ memoir , ↑ memorabilia , ↑ memorandum ; adjective : ↑ memorable , ↑ memorial , ↑ immemorial ; verb : ↑ memorize , ↑ memorialize ; adverb : ↑ memorably ]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: memorie , from Latin memoria , from memor 'remembering' ]

1 . ABILITY TO REMEMBER [uncountable and countable] someone’s ability to remember things, places, experiences etc

memory for

She has a terrible memory for names.

from memory

The pianist played the whole piece from memory.

in your memory

The image has remained in my memory ever since.

2 . SOMETHING YOU REMEMBER [countable usually plural] something that you remember from the past about a person, place, or experience

memory of

She talked about her memories of the war.

He has lots of happy memories of his stay in Japan.

When I saw the pictures, the memories came flooding back (=I suddenly had many memories about something) .


a) [countable] the part of a computer where information can be stored:

The data is stored in the computer’s memory.

b) [uncountable] the amount of space that can be used for storing information on a computer:

128 Mb of memory

Personal computers now have much increased memory capacity.

4 . in/within memory during the time that people can remember:

the worst floods in living memory (=since the earliest time that people now alive can remember)

It’s certainly the best England team in recent memory.

The disaster was within the memory of many men still working at the station.

5 . in memory of somebody if something is done or made in memory of someone, it is done to remember them and remind other people of them after they have died:

a statue in memory of those who died in the war

She set up a charitable fund in her father’s memory.

6 . sb’s memory the way you remember someone who has died:

She died over 40 years ago but her memory lives on (=people still remember her) .

to sb’s memory

There’s a bench to his memory in the local park.

7 . a walk/trip down memory lane when you spend some time remembering the past:

She returned to her old school yesterday for a trip down memory lane.

8 . sb’s memory is playing tricks on them spoken used to say that someone is remembering things wrongly:

My memory must be playing tricks on me; I’m sure I put that book on the desk.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ adjectives

▪ good/excellent

I wish my memory was as good as yours.

▪ bad/poor/terrible

A student with a poor memory may struggle in school.

▪ short-term memory (=your ability to remember things that you have just seen, heard, or done)

The drug can damage your short-term memory.

▪ long-term memory (=your ability to remember things that happened a long time ago)

Most people's long-term memory is limited.

▪ visual memory (=your ability to remember things you have seen)

Poor spellers often have a weak visual memory.

▪ a photographic memory (=the ability to remember every detail of things that you have seen)

Unless you have a photographic memory, you forget half of what you read as soon as you close the book.

■ verbs

▪ remain/stay/stick in your memory (=be remembered for a long time)

That day will remain in my memory forever.

▪ refresh/jog your memory (=help someone to remember something)

Perhaps this photograph will refresh your memory?

▪ lose your memory (=become unable to remember things that happened in the past)

The blow on the head caused him to lose his memory.

▪ commit something to memory formal (=make yourself remember something)

I've already committed his name to memory.

■ phrases

▪ have a short memory (=if you have a short memory, you soon forget things)

Voters have short memories.

▪ have a long memory (=if you have a long memory, you remember things for a long time)

He has a long memory for people who have let him down.

▪ have a memory like a sieve (=forget things very easily)

I'm sorry, I have a memory like a sieve. I forgot you were coming today!

▪ loss of memory/memory loss (=when you cannot remember things)

The condition can cause dizziness and memory loss.

▪ a lapse of memory/a memory lapse (=when you cannot remember something for a short time)

The alcohol seemed to make him suffer lapses of memory.

▪ if my memory serves (me correctly/right) (=used to say that you are almost certain you have remembered something correctly)

If my memory serves me correctly, Johnson was also there.

▪ something is etched in your memory (=it is impossible to forget)

The date was etched in my memory.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)


▪ good/bad etc memories

He left school with good memories of his time there.

▪ happy/unhappy memories

Many people have unhappy memories of being forced to play team sports.

▪ fond memories (=about someone or something you like)

She had fond memories of her aunt and uncle.

▪ a painful memory (=very upsetting)

He sobbed as he relived the painful memory.

▪ a vivid memory (=very clear and detailed)

I have vivid memories of that summer.

▪ a clear memory

I have a clear memory of the first time I met David.

▪ a dim/distant memory (=not clear, from a long time ago)

He had only dim memories of his father, who had died when he was four.

▪ a vague memory (=not clear)

I have a vague memory of visiting them when I was small.

▪ a childhood memory

Going to the farm brought back happy childhood memories.

▪ somebody's earliest memory

My earliest memory is of being bitten by a dog.

▪ an abiding/enduring/lasting memory (=that you will always have)

The children's abiding memory of their father is of his patience and gentleness.

■ verbs

▪ have a/have no memory of something (=remember/not remember something)

She had no memory of the accident.

▪ relive a memory (=talk about past events so you remember them again)

Seeing her again was an excuse to relive old memories.

▪ bring back memories ( also rekindle/revive memories formal ) (=make you remember something)

For many older people, the film brought back memories of the war.

▪ memories come flooding back (=you suddenly remember things clearly)

Evelyn hugged her daughter, as memories came flooding back to her.

▪ a memory fades (=becomes less clear and accurate)

Write down how you felt before the memory fades.

■ phrases

▪ a place is full of memories (=makes you remember things that happened there)

My old home is full of unhappy memories.

▪ be haunted by the memory of something (=be unable to forget something unhappy)

He is haunted by memories of his unhappy childhood.

▪ shudder/wince at the memory of something (=be upset by remembering something)

She shuddered at the memory of her parents fighting.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.