Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An account of the personal experiences of an author.
  • n. An autobiography. Often used in the plural.
  • n. A biography or biographical sketch.
  • n. A report, especially on a scientific or scholarly topic.
  • n. The report of the proceedings of a learned society.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An autobiography; a book describing the personal experiences of an author.
  • n. Any form of narrative describing the personal experiences of a writer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A memorial account; a history composed from personal experience and memory; an account of transactions or events (usually written in familiar style) as they are remembered by the writer. See history, 2.
  • n. A memorial of any individual; a biography; often, a biography written without special regard to method and completeness.
  • n. An account of something deemed noteworthy; an essay; a record of investigations of any subject; the journals and proceedings of a society.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A note of something to be remembered; a memorandum.
  • n. A notice or an essay relating to something within the writer's own memory or knowledge; a record of facts upon a subject personally known or investigated; a concise account of one's knowledge or information on any topic; especially, a communication to a society containing such information: as, the Memoirs of the Academy of Sciences.
  • n. plural A narrative of the facts or events of some phase of history or in the life of a person, written from personal knowledge or observation; a history or narrative dwelling chiefly upon points about which the writer is specially informed, as an autobiography or a continuous record of observations.
  • n. In a restricted use, a biography; a memorial volume or work containing notices of the life and character of some one deceased, with extracts from his (or her) correspondence, etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an account of the author's personal experiences
  • n. an essay on a scientific or scholarly topic

Etymologies

French mémoire, from Old French memoire, memory, from Latin memoria; see memory.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French mémoire ("memoir"), from Latin memoria ("memory"); see memory. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In the title memoir, Maurer reflects that "blindness must be confronted in unconventional ways if progress in surmounting its disadvantages is to be made."

    Fred's Head from APH

  • The most frustrating aspect of the memoir is her essential but underlying trajectory from someone who was frustrated and disappointed in her life, to someone who finally achieved what she wanted.

    From Blog to Book « Tales from the Reading Room

  • I wrote these weird essay-ish short stories, and with the encouragement of my teacher, David Shields if you want to read the most mind-exploding expose of life in the borderlands between fiction and memoir, read his book Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, I continued to blunder through-not assigning the word "memoir" to my work until 2001 when Brain, Child magazine published a long piece of mine about my family called "Women Like That, Like Us."

    Theo Pauline Nestor: James Frey Took the Memoir Bullet

  • This memoir is a reminder; lives do change in a blink of an eye.

    Archive 2008-01-01

  • But this memoir is a different species entirely from the normal rags-to-riches tale of a big-screen leading man or woman - it's the life of Cheeta the chimpanzee.

    The Biography We've Been Waiting For

  • This memoir is an eye opener to the mysteries surrounding polio patients and their struggles.

    Warm Springs (copy)

  • The stunning thing in this memoir is the talk about the appreciation of beauty, hope, joy, happiness, etc ¦. in the camps!

    Books Most Important to You

  • Rosie O'Donnell has promised at a national book convention that she'll be publishing what she calls a memoir of the last 12 months later in the year.

    Rosie O’Donnell’s Price Is Right Bid Goes Tits Up

  • James Frey wrote what he called a memoir, titled A Million Little Pieces, which details his addiction to drugs and alcohol and his recovery in a detox clinic.

    LLD episode 4 uploaded

  • Author of a new memoir called "Just Lucky I Guess" which she describes as a memoir of sorts.

    CNN Transcript Nov 27, 2002

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