Mnemonics

Term for names, abbreviations, etc., used to help an individual remember longer pieces of information. An example would be "HOMES," a simple word used by grade-school children to recall the five Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior). Similarly, a more complicated mnemonic—"Martha Visits Every Morning, Just Stays Until Noon, Period"—comprises a purportedly easy-to-recall sentence used to remember the names of the planets of the Solar System in order of distance from the Sun (usually; at this writing, Pluto's eccentric orbit has actually brought it temporarily closer to the Sun than Neptune).

In computing, mnemonics are used to improve the efficiency of computer memories by using abbreviations of address terms. Also, in computer programming, mnemonics are used by various assembly languages as an aid to the programmer, reducing complex sets of functions, routines, and formats to short, easy-to-remember symbols or terms.

The word mnemonic itself is pronounced "nemonic," and it derives from the Greek word mnemonikos, meaning "of, or pertaining to, memory."

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