Memory is the power to retain and recall information and past experiences. Your brain's memory helps you recall lots of memories — like multiplication tables and bad dates.

The word memory applies to both the individual facts and experiences you remember as well as the brain's ability to contain it all. A good memory for names means you retain someone's name. But a good memory of your summer job means that you had fun while working at the Jiffy Lube. Memory has also come to refer to a computer's capacity to store information. As far as we know, however, computers do not have fond memories of their past programs.

Definitions of memory

n the cognitive processes whereby past experience is remembered

“he can do it from memory
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STM, immediate memory, short-term memory
what you can repeat immediately after perceiving it
working memory
memory for intermediate results that must be held during thinking
LTM, long-term memory
your general store of remembered information
the cognitive operation of accessing information in memory
recall, recollection, reminiscence
the process of remembering (especially the process of recovering information by mental effort)
identification, recognition
the process of recognizing something or someone by remembering
association, connection, connexion
the process of bringing ideas or events together in memory or imagination
memory for experiences that are past
episodic memory, personal memory
memory for episodes in your own life
semantic memory
your memory for meanings and general (impersonal) facts
motor memory, muscle memory
your memory for motor skills
recall or remembrance
reconstruction, reconstructive memory
recall that is hypothesized to work by storing abstract features which are then used to construct the memory during recall
reproduction, reproductive memory
recall that is hypothesized to work by storing the original stimulus input and reproducing it during recall
recall after rote memorization
the individual characteristics by which a thing or person is recognized or known
speaker identification, talker identification
identification of a person from the sound of their voice
the connection of isolated facts by a general hypothesis
Type of:
basic cognitive process
cognitive processes involved in obtaining and storing knowledge

n the power of retaining and recalling past experience

“he had a good memory when he was younger”
retention, retentiveness, retentivity
anamnesis, recollection, remembrance
the ability to recall past occurrences
Type of:
faculty, mental faculty, module
one of the inherent cognitive or perceptual powers of the mind

n something that is remembered

“search as he would, the memory was lost”
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a mental impression retained and recalled from the past
something recalled to the mind
engram, memory trace
a postulated biochemical change (presumably in neural tissue) that represents a memory
(psychiatry) a plausible but imagined memory that fills in gaps in what is remembered
screen memory
an imagined memory of a childhood experience; hides another memory of distressing significance
Type of:
internal representation, mental representation, representation
a presentation to the mind in the form of an idea or image

n the area of cognitive psychology that studies memory processes

“he taught a graduate course on learning and memory
Type of:
cognitive psychology
an approach to psychology that emphasizes internal mental processes

n an electronic memory device

“a memory and the CPU form the central part of a computer to which peripherals are attached”
computer memory, computer storage, memory board, storage, store
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non-volatile storage, nonvolatile storage
computer storage that is not lost when the power is turned off
ROM, fixed storage, read-only memory, read-only storage
(computer science) memory whose contents can be accessed and read but cannot be changed
real storage
the main memory in a virtual memory system
(computer science) a high-speed internal memory used for temporary storage of preliminary information
virtual memory, virtual storage
(computer science) memory created by using the hard disk to simulate additional random-access memory; the addressable storage space available to the user of a computer system in which virtual addresses are mapped into real addresses
volatile storage
computer storage that is erased when the power is turned off
CD-ROM, compact disc read-only memory
a compact disk that is used with a computer (rather than with an audio system); a large amount of digital information can be stored and accessed but it cannot be altered by the user
EPROM, erasable programmable read-only memory
(computer science) a read-only memory chip that can be erased by ultraviolet light and programmed again with new data
flash memory
nonvolatile storage that can be electrically erased and programmed anew
magnetic bubble memory
a nonvolatile storage device that holds information in the form of bubbles on a thin film of magnetic silicate; no longer used in most computers
RAM, random access memory, random memory, random-access memory, read/write memory
the most common computer memory which can be used by programs to perform necessary tasks while the computer is on; an integrated circuit memory chip allows information to be stored or accessed in any order and all storage locations are equally accessible
Type of:
computer hardware, hardware
(computer science) the mechanical, magnetic, electronic, and electrical components making up a computer system
memory device, storage device
a device that preserves information for retrieval

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