- A device such as a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that assists in remembering something.
- Aiding or designed to aid the memory.
- Relating to the power of memory.
“I often use the mnemonic device ‘i before e except after c’ to help my spelling.”
“My mnemonic abilities aren’t what they used to be — I keep forgetting what I need to get at the store.”
“My tutor taught me a mnemonic that helped me remember the formulas for the calculus exam.”
Greek, mid-17th century
Why this word?
“Mnemonic” can be used as a noun or an adjective, both referring to memory tools. To recall the order of the planets in our solar system, from the closest to the sun to the farthest, a common mnemonic phrase used to be “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas.” In this mnemonic sentence, the first letter of each word corresponds to the first letter of a planet’s name — Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. However, since Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006, other versions have mothers serving noodles or nachos instead.
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