What Do You Call It When Someone Has A Good Memory?

There are several words we tend to call a person with when we find him/her great at remembering things. To some people, that is one level of intelligence but there is a special word for it.

When you are told to be careful what you wish for, this is one of the perfect examples. A highly retentive memory can be a gift and a curse to people.

 The word you are probably looking for is Hyperthymesia. This is a condition that refers to someone who remembers virtually every part of his/her life.

It is considered abnormal but not by many people. While the display of this ability can make people call you Intelligent, it is a medical condition that prevents you from forgetting things even if you want to. 

 It sounds like a nice ability but the list below explains why you won’t want this curse.

What Do You CallWhat Do You Call It When Someone Has A Good Memory?

  • Smart Man/Woman
  • Intelligent Man/Woman
  • Tenacious Man/Woman
  • Retentive Memory
  • Memorious 
  • Photographic Memory
  • Eidetic Memory
  • Synesthesia
  • Mnemonist
  • Hyperthymesia
  • Episodic Memory
  • Savant Syndrome

Smart Man/Woman

This is one of the most common words used to refer to someone who has displayed exceptional memorizing ability. This is probably the first or second word that comes to your mind when you are trying to refer to a person who remembers things easily.

 “Smart” can be used to mean a lot of things. A person that learns very quickly can be referred to as “Smart”. A person that displays an impressive amount of knowledge is referred to as “Smart”.

A person who has cleverly displayed a skill can be called “Smart”. There is also a high chance that you will be hearing this word very often if you remember things easily and in detail.

 While this word is common and nice, it doesn’t fully capture the idea of remembering. There is a level of memory recall that is beyond the ordinary and goes beyond smartness. Another word you could get for your exceptional ability to remember things is “Intelligent”.

Intelligent Man/Woman

This should be the first word on the list. It is undoubtedly the most common word used in referring to smart people. If you display an impressive ability to remember things, this is probably the first word that comes to the mind of everyone.

 Some people prefer to use Intelligent, rather than Smart. To many, Intelligence is more honorable than calling a person Smart. However, neither of the words truly captures the unique idea of remembering things easily and in detail.

 Intelligence is seen as a normal unique feature. However, there is a level at which the ability may be displayed that is considered abnormal. While intelligence is only one of the words for it, some words are much better to refer to this unique ability

Tenacious Man/Woman

 As mentioned earlier, Intelligence goes beyond a good memory and may not even refer to a person’s ability to remember things. However, while this word refers to a person’s ability to recall things, Intelligence may be appreciated better.

 Tenacious is the word you are seeking when you are trying to refer to a person who remembers things very well. Some people can remember things that are mentioned only once. While many people may forget, they remember. While many people remember only vaguely, they remember clearly and may even describe in detail.

However, you may not want to use Tenacious since it has several meanings. Tenacious can also be used to refer to an obstinate person. It can also refer to something or a highly sticky substance. You can probably guess where the idea of memory comes from.

 While Tenacious is more suitable than Intelligent in this case, there is a more common phrase with equal meaning. It is much clearer than Tenacious and will be very much easier to understand.

Retentive Memory

You can say this phrase to avoid being misunderstood. Tenacious can refer to stubbornness and many people find the word unpleasant. However, saying a person has retentive memory is very clear.

 This word is perfect for a normal person who remembers things. It is appreciated almost as much as calling a person intelligent. However, it is also common so it arguably doesn’t capture the unique level of remembrance mentioned earlier.

 Virtually everyone has retentive memory. There is a chance you have been addressed with this phrase unless you forget things easily. Some similar words point to a higher level of remembrance. Although they are all kinds of a retentive memory, some of them point to a more intense level.

Retentive memory is simply the ability to retain memory. In other words, it has no exact measurement and can refer to all the more intense levels. You may want to use a more unique word.


This word goes slightly beyond Retentive Memory. You may wonder how the effectiveness of these terms is being measured. While Retentive Memory is simply the ability to remember things, Memorious refers to an unusual ability to remember things.

 A unique display of remembrance is unusual and you may want to use Memorious instead. This also may not be the best word in your opinion, considering the fact that some words are more intense than this.

Retentive Memory refers to all kinds of remembrance levels. Similarly, Memorious refers to all kinds of unusual remembrance levels.

 There are kinds of memories that are seen as a defect because of the inability to forget. These kinds can be considered much more intense than Memorious since they explore levels and reasons for remembering things easily or in detail.

Photographic Memory

If you are a fan of this old TV show, Suits, you probably know what this phrase means already. A person with photographic memory can remember things in images.

 It is like capturing moments in their heads and storing them for life. Once they read a book, there is a high chance they can remember some pages in detail.

 That is how intense Photographic Memory is. Someone with this ability can be said to have a Retentive Memory but this is beyond that. Some may choose to call them Memorious but this specific phrase will capture it better.

Eidetic Memory

This is also called Photographic Memory but is quite different from the one mentioned above. 

While Photographic Memory has to do more with numbers, text, and probably audio, Eidetic Memory has to do with actual images. This ability, like the one directly above this, is not fully proven to exist.

 With an Eidetic Memory, you can view an image and recall all parts of it in detail. You can be able to draw out an image you have only seen once. That is how an Eidetic Memory is believed to be.


Synesthesia is a beautiful ability that is often considered a disorder. However, it’s just a unique ability with which only a few people are gifted.

 Synesthesia happens when you hear a tune but see an image; when you see an image but hear a voice; when you hear a voice but feel a touch; when you feel touch but see a person and things like that. You probably already get the idea.

 You may have felt this when a certain song or color makes you remember something else that is unrelated. That is how synesthesia feels like but it is much more intense. They can remember a lot of things in detail and all they need is a part of their senses to bring back the memory.


This is much more common among the unusual kinds of remembering things and you are probably a mnemonist. 

Mnemonist refers to a person who can remember an unusually long text or list of names with mnemonic techniques. This is not considered unusual, however, since virtually everyone can do it.

 Some of us remember a long list by turning them into codes. We could use their first letters to form a word that we keep in our memories. Once we remember that word, we can decide the word and remember the whole of the list easily.

Some of us remember things by creating music. The moment the song is remembered, you just have to sing the song to recall everything on the list.

 This is considered an intelligent technique. If this is what you do, you are a mnemonist.


This is also called Hyperthymestic Syndrome. It is a condition that is quite beautiful but very rare.

This is much more intense than all the words mentioned above. It may even be the most intense word on the list. With this ability, a person can remember nearly every detail of his/her life.

Some people can remember their childhood, though it’s not clear. However, from the early teenage years till old age, they can remember virtually every event. They can probably remember all that happened decades earlier and explain it in detail. As hard as it is to believe, the ability is real.

Only a few people have this ability. Currently, there are less than 70 discovered people with this ability in the world.

The uniqueness of this ability is limited, however. If you can memorize an entire book, you may not have this ability.

Rather, you may have photographic memory or synesthesia which is more efficient in memorizing things. Hyperthymesia, on the other hand, is not great for deliberate memorization.

 It is considered an autobiographic ability since it records moments in your life with an abnormally unique vividness. The process is described to happen subconsciously so a person with this ability cannot just choose to keep certain memories in his/her head.

The ability may be described as selective of the information to store. Surprisingly, it seems to focus on the major parts of a person’s life.

Episodic Memory

Episodic memory is not an unusual ability. It is simply a remembrance of specific moments with accurate details. You probably have this kind of memory. It is not very special since many people have it.

 The number of people that have these memories isn’t what makes it less special. It is the cause of this kind of memory. 

When you have episodic memory, you can remember the date, the place, the event, the faces, the happenings, and virtually everything. You can even describe in detail.

Episodic memory is said to cause a dramatic change in a person’s life, a person’s character, or a person’s way of thinking.

 Episodic memory is usually a sentimental one. It can refer to a moment of euphoria that hasn’t been felt in a long time and the memory is having an impact at the moment you are recalling it. It could also be a moment of sadness that has made you start or stop doing something.

We all have special moments in our lives that have made us change our ways of doing things. All of those memories are episodic.

 Even an extremely forgetful person will remember episodic memories in detail. If an episodic memory is forgotten, then the moment has not made an impact on your life or feelings. Therefore, that moment cannot be considered episodic.

Savant Syndrome

This is another extraordinary level of remembrance but it’s not one you can wish for. This is because it is considered a mental disorder, usually associated with Autism.

 This goes beyond memory too. With this syndrome, a person can have exceptional and quick math skills. Also, the person can remember moments and things accurately. Some savant people also have musical skills and are said to have higher IQs than other mentally-disordered patients.

The level of remembrance can be compared to photographic memory but not as great as that, however.


Having a great memory is very cool but there are abilities you don’t wish for. Savant Syndrome is quite sad and not so admirable. Hyperthymesia which seems to be one of the best may not be very good either.

 Though not many Hyperthymestic patients have made this complaint, some are said to have an irrepressible influx of memories, especially unwanted one. You will find it hard to forget things.

 However, it is still great. Unless the word you seek doesn’t exist, you have found the right word to describe someone with good memory.


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