When you 'remember' something

When you ‘remember’ something, the actual root words are


Google, has long replaced (oh forgive me my bruised and damaged love) my copy of Websters New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language unabridged that has been carried from house to house since the early 1970’s, forming an obsessive love of etymology, (and then – how could Mr Webster have known- it became the right ergonomic height to hold up a monitor).

It tells me that, to remember is the verb: remember; the 3rd person present: remembers; past tense: remembered; past participle: remembered; gerund or present participle: remembering  and it all means

to have in or be able to bring to one’s mind an awareness of (someone or something from the past)

It’s Middle English: from Old French remembrer, from late Latin rememorari ‘call to mind’, from re- (expressing intensive force) + Latin memor ‘mindful’.

For me, that’s a boring definition and pretty mechanical, sounds just like a search in the documents folder or in Lightroom on meta tags I’ve added. They help when I can assemble a screen of the images when I think ‘frost’ , but don’t make my finger nails ache like de-icing the windscreen.

(As there is no rule that stops you giving your own definitions to a word – you just need enough people to agree on your interpretation for that to be useful) to me it means to give a ‘member’ or body back to the thought. There’s a hint of naughtiness about ‘male members’ but if you are ‘dismembered’, your body is taken apart. So remembering is putting body/flesh experiences back to the thoughts of someone or event in ‘one’s mind’.

As in re-membering the body of a lover,
or how as a cyborg, you can no longer re-member the
feeling of your knees now they’re metal and plastic.

And re-membering how your body changed when you fell from your bicycle, altered forever in a moment,
so that now, you remember to watch out for life-changing chance events.

Road sign on Murray River walk at Morgan, South Australia

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