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A memorandum is either a punishment intended to make a person think ("give a memorandum") or an unpleasant experience that serves or should serve as a lesson for someone so that he or she no longer has a certain, mostly negative behavior in the future shows (“get a memorandum”).


The word comes from the legal vocabulary of Middle Low German denkcëdel , which means something like certificate or written message , but also a summons . Martin Luther used the word memorial to translate the Greek phylaktérion , the Jewish phylacteries with incised legal sayings. Often with the Jews , these were strips of parchment with biblical sayings (such as 5 Mos 6,4-9  LUT ; 11,13-21 LUT ; 2 Mos 13,1-16  LUT ), which were placed in two cube-shaped capsules during morning prayer on weekdays were tied with leather straps on the forehead and on the left arm opposite the heart to indicate that one would like to direct one's mind and heart to God.

Word origin

In the 16th century, students in the monastery schools and other educational institutions were hung on a string around their necks with so-called shame notes on which the offenses were listed if they repeatedly violated the order of the respective institute. Depending on the type of misconduct, the students had to carry these memos for several days during their outdoor walks and during the class to mock their classmates (on their backs). From this the current meaning of the term memorial sheet is derived as a phrase, which means a (also physical) punishment as a reminder .

The word memorial (in the revised text “ phylacteries ”) which occurs in Mal 3,16  LUT and Mt 23,5  LUT in the Luther translation is explained from Num 15,38-39  LUT , where the Lord commands “that they and their descendants become one another Tassels are attached to the corners of their clothes and blue strings are attached to the tassels of the corners, "at the sight of which they should" think of all the commandments of the Lord ".

Other meanings

  • The cabaret memorial was in Magdeburg . The artists were Vera Feldmann, Thomas Müller and Knut Müller-Ehrecke (a. G.).
  • Vobis calls his irregularly published promotional brochure that is perceived as such in the PC media also lesson .

See also


  1. ^ Memorandum : In: Herders Conversations-Lexikon. Freiburg im Breisgau 1854, Volume 2, p. 324 ( online at .).
  2. Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Wander (ed.): Deutsches Sprich emphasis-Lexikon, Volume 1. Leipzig 1867 ( online at .).

Web links

Wiktionary: Memoirs  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: give someone a lesson  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: give someone a memo  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations