General Science

  • noun the means by which the brain stores information and experiences
  • noun a problem with some batteries, e.g. nickel-cadmium batteries, which gradually reduces their ability to retain charge


  • noun the mental ability of remembering and recalling past events or information
  • noun part of a computer which is used for the fast recall of information


  • noun a facility for storing data in a computer


  • noun storage space in a computer system or medium that is capable of retaining data or instructions


  • The locations within a computer that serve for temporarily holding and accessing data in a machine-readable format. Memory chips are used for this purpose, and most are allocated for RAM, or main memory. Memory is usually quantified in multiples of bytes. For example, a computer with 1 gigabyte of RAM can hold approximately 1 billion bytes, or characters, of information, and this is the total temporary workspace this computer has available. Other forms of memory in a computer include ROM, PROM, and EPROM. Although memory and storage are sometimes used synonymously, storage refers to a more permanent form of holding and accessing data, using magnetic or optical media, such as disks and tapes. Also called computer memory, or system memory (1).

Information & Library Science

  • noun a person’s ability to remember things
  • noun the capacity to store information

Origin & History of “memory”

The Indo-European base *men-, *mon- ‘think’ has contributed an enormously wide range of words to the English lexicon, from comment to mind. One particular semantic family denotes ‘memory’, and goes back to memor ‘mindful’, a Latin descendant of *men-. From it was derived the noun memoria ‘memory’, which has given English memory, memorize (16th c.), memorial (14th c.), and, via modern French, memoir (16th c.); and the verb memorāre ‘remember’, from which English gets commemorate (16th c.), memorable (15th c.), and memorandum (16th c.) (not forgetting its abbreviation memo (19th c.)). also from memor comes remember; and three other Latin descendants of *men-, meminisse ‘remember’, reminiscī ‘remember’, and mentiō ‘remembrance’, gave English memento (15th c.), reminiscence (16th c.), and mention respectively. The distantly related remind carries the same idea.