List of mnemonics

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The surrender of life is nothing to sinking down into acknowledgment of inferiority.
John C. Calhoun
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This article contains lists of some common mnemonics. See also Category:Mnemonics.

Phrasal and rhyming mnemonics

Science and technology


  • Vertical mineral deposits in caves:
    • The 'mites go up and the 'tites come down. When one has ants in one's pants, the mites go up and the tights come down. (Note: In a strict scientific sense, a mite is not an ant, although "mite" in common speech can refer to any small creature.)
    • Stalactites hang tight, hang down like tights on a line; stalagmites might bite (if you sit on them), might reach the roof.
    • You need might to do push-ups (from the floor). You must hold tight doing chin-ups (off the ceiling).
    • StalaCtites hang from the Ceiling, StalaGmites come up from the Ground.



  • To remember which way to tighten a screw: "righty tighty, lefty loosey"
  • A mnemonic to remember which way to turn common (right handed) screws and nuts, including light bulbs, is "Righty tighty, lefty loosey"; another is "right on, left off"



(note that this mnemonic does not include the crucial dividing by the bottom squared). Another phrase memorable for sounding like a square dance is "low d high less high d low, draw the line and square below."

Geography and chronology

  • How to set your clock to accommodate the shift to and from daylight saving time: "Spring forward. Fall back."
  • To remember which direction Latitude and Longtitude are: Latus is latin for side - latitude lines go from side to side (EW). Longitude lines seem longer (top to bottom, NS). Remember "Lat is Fat" - Latitude goes around the equator belt, or that the word LADder almost sounds like LATitude, and Latitude is horizontal like the rungs of a Ladder.
  • Pigs Are Intelligent Animals: The Oceans from largest to smallest. Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic.


  • The pronunciation and lexical ordering of the Japanese vowels:
Ah we soon get old
  • Esperanto vowel sounds (one sound per letter):
Pa let me go too (AEIOU)


  • The phrase "there's always some red port (wine) left" is used to remember that the left side of the boat is the "port" side; the right side of the boat is the "starboard" side.

Numeric mnemonics



In Have Spacesuit Will Travel, w:Robert A. Heinlein includes 'prices' which represent the mean AU (Astronomical Unit - mean distance of the Earth from the Sun = 93 million miles = 149 million km) of all the planets from the sun:

  • MERCURY $0.39
  • VENUS $0.72
  • TERRA $1.00
  • MARS $1.50
  • ASTEROIDS (assorted prices, unimportant)
  • JUPITER $5.20
  • SATURN $9.50
  • URANUS $19.00
  • NEPTUNE $30.00
  • PLUTO $39.50



  • The phrase "We guarantee certainty, clearly referring to this light mnemonic." represents the w:speed of light in w:meters per w:second through the number of letters in each word: 299,792,458.



  • 543210 is a mnemonic for the date when w:prohibition was lifted in w:Finland: 5th April (4th month) 1932 at 10 in the morning (local time).



  • These sentences contain every letter in the alphabet:
    • The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
    • Waltz, bad nymph, for quick jigs vex.
    • Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz.

Science and technology


  • The rhyme w:Thirty days hath September is commonly used as a mnemonic for the number of days in the months of the year. If the rhyme is too much effort, then it might be sufficient to remember that July is named for w:Julius Caesar, and that August is named for w:Augustus Caesar, both of whom were popular leaders of ancient Rome. Thus, they both were entitled by fiat to have a 31 day month, and the rest of the months fall into an alternating 30-31 pattern, with the exception of February, which at one time was the last month of the year. Thus proceeding as if March was the beginning of the year, the month of September becomes the seventh month, October the eighth month, November the ninth month and December the tenth month, in accordance with the Latin prefixes from which the names of these months are derived. Thus March, April, May, June, and July belong to Julius Caesar and have a 31-30-31-30-31 pattern. Likewise August, September, October, November and December are associated with Augustus Caesar and form a second 31-30-31-30-31 pattern. January, associated with the less memorable Janus, was once along with February at the end of the year, but now these two months form another pattern that starts with 31, but which is then terminated at the end of February, which by the original w:Roman calendar would have begun a new year. Additionally, by counting one's knuckles and the grooves between each knuckle for each month starting with January on the pinky finger of one's left hand. A knuckle stands for a month containing 31 days and the grooves between knuckles as one containing 30 days or less. Since one switches from the left hand to the right as they count from July to August, both months are represented by a knuckle, representing 31 days.

Internal letters

As well as first-letter mnemonics, some mnemonics employ internal letters of words:

Science and technology


  • stalactites are on the ceiling
  • stalagmites are on the ground
  • stalagmites mite reach the ceiling
  • Where the mites go up ([stalagmites]), the tites come down ([stalactites]). i.e. mnemonic creates image of mites running up your legs that is quiet powerful, especially if you hate insects. Thus when mites run up your legs, the tights come down. Posted by Edwin Reese quoted by unknown tour guide in [Chillagoe Caves Far North Queensland], Australia 1981.



  • Given names (masculine and feminine):
Francis (him) and Frances (her)
Don (son) and Dawn (daughter)

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