Etymology
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remember (v.)

mid-14c., remembren, "keep or bear (something or someone) in mind, retain in the memory, preserve unforgotten," from Old French remembrer "remember, recall, bring to mind" (11c.), from Latin rememorari "recall to mind, remember," from re- "again" (see re-) + memorari "be mindful of," from memor "mindful" (from PIE root *(s)mer- (1) "to remember").

The meaning "recall to mind, bring again to the memory" is from late 14c.; the sense of "to mention" is from 1550s. Also in Middle English "to remind" (someone), "bring back the memory of" (something to someone); "give an account, narrate," and in passive constructions such as hit remembreth me "I remember." An Anglo-Saxon verb for it was gemunan.

The insertion of -b- between -m- and a following consonant (especially where a vowel has dropped out) is regular: compare number (n.), chamber (n.), humble (adj.).

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]

In complimentary messages, "remember (one) to (another), recall one to the remembrance of another," as in remember me to your family, is attested from 1550s.

updated on June 27, 2021

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