loss or failure to recall information stored in human memory
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Forgetting (retention loss) refers to apparent loss of information already encoded and stored in an individual's long term memory. It is a spontaneous or gradual process in which old memories are unable to be recalled from memory storage. It is subject to delicately balanced optimization that ensures that relevant memories are recalled. Forgetting can be reduced by repetition and/or more elaborate cognitive processing of information. Forgotten are those things which many people forget.


  • Not the power to remember, but its very opposite, the power to forget, is a necessary condition for our existence.
  • FORGETFULNESS, n. A gift of God bestowed upon debtors in compensation for their destitution of conscience.
  • But my thoughts ran a wool-gathering; and I did like the countryman, who looked for his ass while he was mounted on his back.
  • That frivolous young widow ought to have paid for the solace she declared so often she found in books. "I must read to forget." All very well, but she should not forget to pay for the means of forgetfulness. The waters of Lethe may be waters bought without money and without price, but my books ought to be paid for in cash.
  • ἔνθ᾽ αὖτ᾽ ἄλλ᾽ ἐνόησ᾽ Ἑλένη Διὸς ἐκγεγαυῖα:
    αὐτίκ᾽ ἄρ᾽ εἰς οἶνον βάλε φάρμακον, ἔνθεν ἔπινον,
    νηπενθές τ᾽ ἄχολόν τε, κακῶν ἐπίληθον ἁπάντων.
    • Then Helen, daughter of Zeus, took other counsel.
      Straightway she cast into the wine of which they were drinking a drug
      to quiet all pain and strife, and bring forgetfulness of every ill.
    • Homer; Murray, A.T. (translator) (1919). "4.219-221". Odyssey. "4.219-221". Homer, Odyssey (in Greek). At the Perseus Project.
  • "If I should cease to think of you at all for a prescribed time, I should find I could keep it up indefinitely. [...] You know that what you ask is impossible [...] I'm capable of nothing with regard to you," he went on, "but just of being infernally in love with you. If one's strong one loves only the more strongly."
  • God of love, show us our place in this world as channels of your love for all the creatures of this earth, for not one of them is forgotten in your sight".

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 287-88.
  • The wind blows out, the bubble dies;
    The spring entomb'd in autumn lies;
    The dew dries up; the star is shot;
    The flight is past—and man forgot.
    • Attributed to Dr. Henry King. Credited to Francis Beaumont (1600) in a periodical pub. about 1828.
  • God of our fathers, known of old,
    Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
    Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
    Dominion over palm and pine—
    Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
    Lest we forget—lest we forget!
  • The tumult and the shouting dies,
    The captains and the kings depart;
    Still stands thine ancient sacrifice,
    A humble and a contrite heart.
    Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet
    Lest we forget,—lest we forget.
    • Rudyard Kipling, Recessional Hymn. Perhaps of Biblical inspiration. "He smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting." Job, XXXIX. 25.
  • Forgotten? No, we never do forget:
    We let the years go; wash them clean with tears,
    Leave them to bleach out in the open day,
    Or lock them careful by, like dead friends' clothes,
    Till we shall dare unfold them without pain,—
    But we forget not, never can forget.
  • Mistakes remember'd are not faults forgot.
    • R. H. Newell, The Orpheus C. Kerr Papers, Second Series, Columbia's Agony, Stanza 9.
  • Intrantis medici facies tres esse videntur.
    Ægrotanti; hominis, Dæmonis, atque Dei.
    Cum primum accessit medicus dixitque salutem,
    En Dens aut custos angelus, æger ait.
    • To the sick man the physician when he enters seems to have three faces, those of a man, a devil, a god. When the physician first comes and announces the safety of the patient, then the sick man says: "Behold a God or a guardian angel!
    • John Owen, Works.
  • God and the Doctor we alike adore
    But only when in danger, not before;
    The danger o'er, both are alike requited,
    God is forgotten, and the Doctor slighted.
  • Our God and soldier we alike adore,
    When at the brink of ruin, not before;
    After deliverance both alike requited,
    Our God forgotten, and our soldiers slighted.
  • If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.
    • Psalms. CXXXVII. 5.
  • We bury love,
    Forgetfulness grows over it like grass;
    That is a thing to weep for, not the dead.
  • One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
    But came the waves and washed it away;
    Agayne I wrote it with a second hand,
    But came the tyde and made my paynes his prey.
  • Etiam oblivisci quod scis interdum expedit.
    • It is sometimes expedient to forget what you know.
    • Syrus, Maxims.
  • And have you been to Borderland?
    Its country lies on either hand
    Beyond the river I-forget.
    One crosses by a single stone
    So narrow one must pass alone,
    And all about its waters fret—
    The laughing river I-forget.
  • Go, forget me—why should sorrow
    O'er that brow a shadow fling?
    Go, forget me—and to-morrow
    Brightly smile and sweetly sing.
    Smile—though I shall not be near thee;
    Sing—though I shall never hear thee.
  •   Encyclopedic article on Forgetting on Wikipedia
  •   The dictionary definition of forgetting on Wiktionary