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From French mémoire ‎(memoir), from Latin memoria ‎(memory); see memory.



memoir ‎(plural memoirs)

  1. An autobiography; a book describing the personal experiences of an author.
    When I retire, I'm going to write my memoirs.
  2. A biography; a book describing the experiences of a subject from personal knowledge of the subject or from sources with personal knowledge of the subject.
    James wrote a memoir of his grandmother shortly after she passed away.
  3. Any form of narrative describing the personal experiences of a writer.

Usage notes[edit]

  • A memoir may differ from a simple biography or autobiography by not focusing on the author as the primary subject matter, but on people and events in the subject's life. Emphasis is placed on personal observations about external events.
  • The plural memoirs is often used to refer to a single work.

Related terms[edit]



  • memoir” in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Online
  • memoir” (US) / “memoir” (UK) in Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford University Press
  • memoir” in Unabridged, v1.0.1, Lexico Publishing Group, 2006.
  • memoir” in Collins American English Dictionary, Collins

External links[edit]

  • memoir in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911