• memorial •
mê-mor-i-êl • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Adjective, Noun
Meaning: 1. [Adjective] Designed to evoke remembrance of a person, persons, or historical event. 2. [Noun] A monument commemorating a person, persons, or historical event. 3. [Noun] A service or artifact designed to evoke remembrance of a person or event.
Notes: The origin of Memorial Day is a bit cloudy. It began during or right after the Civil War as informal trips to cemeteries where flowers were placed on the graves of soldiers fallen in battle. It became such a popular spring event that General John Logan proclaimed Memorial Day a holiday on May 5, 1868. It was first officially observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers in Arlington Cemetery. It spread, state by state, across the nation. The southern states refused to recognize it until after World War I.
In Play: At Alpha Dictionary we are all thinking of those who have given, are giving, and will give their lives for all the causes to which our government has led us. May we all remember the sacrifices that we are commemorating this Memorial Day, whether we attend the parades or not.
Word History: Today's word comes from Late Latin memoriale, the neuter of Latin memorialis "related to memory". The adjective is based on memoria "memory", a partial reduplication of the root mor- "think about, remember", me-mor-, the initial consonant having been repeated as a prefix. We use the Latin word itself in the phrase in memoriam "in memory (of)", often carved on memorials to those we love and respect. With the suffix -n, the same stem became mourn in English, where wars always lead our memories.
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