9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[mem-wahr, -wawr] /ˈmɛm wɑr, -wɔr/
a record of events written by a person having intimate knowledge of them and based on personal observation.
Usually, memoirs.
  1. an account of one's personal life and experiences; autobiography.
  2. the published record of the proceedings of a group or organization, as of a learned society.
a biography or biographical sketch.
Origin of memoir
1560-70; < French mémoire < Latin memoria; see memory
2a. journal, recollections, reminiscences. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for memoirs
  • And there were a number of astronauts' memoirs that mention this and how these flash-frozen droplets illuminated.
  • The nearest seemed to be various college memoirs and a few student exposes.
  • All that fuss about hoked-up memoirs and not a word about the put-ons of personal essayists-it doesn't make sense.
  • memoirs written decades after the events in question are often self-serving.
  • The publishers told my agent that medical memoirs, as they were categorizing my book, did not sell well.
  • And if you haven't started keeping notes for your memoirs, get on that right away.
  • My guilty pleasure this last year was memoirs, especially by academics.
  • And memoirs of eyewitnesses stated the dictator was vomiting, losing blood, and uninterested in food near the end.
  • memoirs and diaries were written in part to burnish reputations, and preserve for posterity one's recollections.
  • She spent many pages in her memoirs trashing campaign staffers.
British Dictionary definitions for memoirs


plural noun
a collection of reminiscences about a period, series of events, etc, written from personal experience or special sources
an autobiographical record
a collection or record, as of transactions of a society, etc


a biography or historical account, esp one based on personal knowledge
an essay or monograph, as on a specialized topic
(obsolete) a memorandum
Derived Forms
memoirist, noun
Word Origin
C16: from French, from Latin memoriamemory
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for memoirs

"personal record of events," 1650s, plural of memoir.



early 15c., "written record," from Anglo-French memorie "note, memorandum, something written to be kept in mind" (early 15c., Old French memoire), from Latin memoria (see memory). Meaning "person's written account of his life" is from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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