n. pl. me·mo·ran·dums or me·mo·ran·da (-də)
1. A short note written as a reminder.
2. A written record or communication, as in a business office. See Synonyms at letter.
a. A short document outlining the terms of an agreement, especially as a draft leading to a formal, detailed contract: a memorandum of understanding.
b. A writing submitted to a court by a party arguing an aspect of a case; a brief.
c. A decision of an appellate court, particularly one that is not accompanied by any detailed explanation of the basis for the decision: a memorandum decision.
4. A business statement made by a consignor about a shipment of goods that may be returned.
5. A brief, unsigned diplomatic communication.
[Middle English, to be remembered (used as a manuscript notation), from Latin, neuter sing. gerundive of memorāre, to bring to remembrance; see MEMORABLE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.