memory lane

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search




memory lane (plural memory lanes)

  1. (idiomatic, sometimes capitalized) A set of recollections available to be reviewed, especially accompanied by a feeling of nostalgia.
    • 1894 December, B[urton] M. Balch, “Memory Lane. A New Year’s Study.”, in Burton M. Balch, editor, Hamilton Literary Monthly, volume 29, number 3, Clinton, N.Y.: Published by the students, Hamilton College, OCLC 809141792, pages 101,102:
      This is Memory Lane—lonely and drear to some, pleasant and gay to others. ... It was New Year's day in the old town, the most hallowed of holidays on Memory Lane; the day when the wharf was deserted, for everyone, great and small, walked over the Lane, many even to the very end.
    • 1954 May, Peter De Vries, chapter 3, in The Tunnel of Love, Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown and Company, published July 1954, OCLC 859862903, page 25:
      "How about a stroll down Memory Lane. Remember this?" He thrust a picture at me.
    • 1987, Eva Antonia Wilbur-Cruce, “My Earliest Recollections”, in A Beautiful, Cruel Country, Tucson, Ariz.: University of Arizona Press, →ISBN, page 42:
      My "memory lane" is splotched with recollections that have not dimmed or faded in the last seventy-five years. They stand out clear and sharp, but they are splotches just the same. They have no beginning, nor do they trail off to an ending. They are just there like ink splotches on a white wall.
    • 1989, Margaret Maron, Corpus Christmas (A Crime Club Book), Warner Books edition, New York, N.Y.: Mysterious Press, published 2001, →ISBN, page 255:
      Sigrid took a bittersweet trip down memory lane when Anne opened the carton of ornaments and lifted out a crumpled tinsel star. All at once she was three years old again and her father was holding her up in his strong arms to place that same star on the very top of their Christmas tree.
    • 1989, Larry L. Meyer, “August 16: An Irish Wedding Revisited”, in My Summer with Molly: The Journal of a Second Generation Father, Huntington Beach, Calif.: Calafia Press, →ISBN, page 146:
      Molly sleeps this morning as her parents, per their promise, travel down memory lane from their just-delivered leather sofa. Tim and I have memory-goaders galore, including our album of wedding photos, two separate videotapes of the marriage ceremony, and some random 35-millimeter slides one or the other of us somehow managed to squeeze off that strange and signal day exactly one year and four days ago.
    • 1994, Raphael Samuel, “Dreamscapes”, in Theatres of Memory, volume 1 (Past and Present in Contemporary Culture), London; New York, N.Y.: Verso Books, →ISBN, part V (Old Photographs), page 351:
      A more straightforwardly nostalgic use of the family album is in oral history, which has used them as a device for family reconstitution and opening up memory lanes.
    • 2020 December 2, Paul Bigland, “My weirdest and wackiest Rover yet”, in Rail, page 67:
      I decide to take in one last trip for the day - and one very much down memory lane. Changing trains at Central, I board a Class 150 bound for Barry Island, where I have not been for 46 years.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The term is often used in the expressions down memory lane and trip down memory lane,[1] and the metaphor of a journey is frequently extended in some way using words like amble, detour, journey, stroll, and walk, for example, “a walk down memory lane”.



  1. ^ According to the Corpus of Contemporary American English, down memory lane occurs 114 times out of a total of 163 occurrences, and forms of trip occur 36 times within four words of down memory lane.

Further reading[edit]