"to recover or recall knowledge of, bring back to the mind or memory," 1550s, from Latin recollectus, past participle of recolligere "to take up again, regain," etymologically "to collect again," from re- "again" (see re-) + colligere "gather" (see collect (v.)). Related: Recollected; recollecting. In form and origin identical with re-collect, but the pronunciation and sense depend upon the noun recollection.
Remember implies that a thing exists in the memory, not that it is actually present in the thoughts at the moment, but that it recurs without effort. Recollect means that a fact, forgotten or partially lost to memory, is after some effort recalled and present to the mind. Remembrance is the store-house, recollection the act of culling out this article and that from the repository. He remembers everything he hears, and can recollect any statement when called on. The words, however, are often confounded, and we say we cannot remember a thing when we mean we cannot recollect it. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
updated on May 20, 2021