to jar your memory

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Funbobby, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. Funbobby Junior Member

    Hello everyone,

    I'm familiar with the expression to jog your memory but I believe that to jar your memory has a different meaning.

    Would "conserver sa mémoire" work ? Seems a bit weird.

    I've heard it while watching TV and don't have more context.

  2. bloomiegirl

    bloomiegirl Senior Member

    New York
    US English
    Really? I thought that "jog someone's memory" and "jar someone's memory" were fairly equivalent, and that either could be translated by "rafraîchir la mémoire de quelqu'un."
  3. mgarizona

    mgarizona Senior Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    US - American English
    I've never heard anyone say "jar one's memory" and I can't imagine why anyone would. It sounds as ludicrous, and as counterproductive, in English as commontionner la mémoire must sound in French.
  4. bloomiegirl

    bloomiegirl Senior Member

    New York
    US English
    I agree with you, MG, but try googling it; it's much used (though not by me)
  5. franc 91 Senior Member

    English - GB
    tiens ça me rappelle quelque chose/ ça me fait penser à quelque chose tout d'un coup/ ça y est, ça me revient maintenant
  6. Funbobby Junior Member

    Ok, thx for your replies.

    Given your answers though, I'll stick to jog someone's memory since it seems more commonly used.
  7. LovePBandJ New Member

    The word jar has multiple meanings. One common meaning for jar is a glass container. However, jar also means physical jolt. So, to jar one's memory is to give it a solid nudge.

    This topic has long since been posted, but I stumbled upon it and did not see a correct response, so I thought I'd contribute for anyone in the future who may read this.
  8. Nicklondon Senior Member

    UK English+Frenchy French
    I also thought it was jog not jar.
  9. edwingill Senior Member

    England English
    "to jog somebody's memory" ="rafraîchir la mémoire de quelqu'un"
  10. mgarizona

    mgarizona Senior Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    US - American English
    First off, yes: jog one's memory, not jar. The violence implied by "jar" could only be applied to memories not simply forgotton or 'out of mind' but to the truly repressed or sublimated. It might, I suppose, be applied in discussions of psychoanalytical katharsis but not as pertains to what 'calls something to mind.'

    That being said: there is a fundamental difference, ignored above, between 'to jog one's memory' and 'to refresh one's memory.' A memory can only be 'refreshed' by someone who shares the lost information, while any random act or thing might 'jog' one's memory. Proust's madeleine 'jogs' his memory, it does not 'refresh' it. If you recount an outing I haven't thought about in years you will refresh my memory of it; if you are wearing the same sweater you wore that day it might jog my memory of it.

    Something closer to "remuer la mémoire'---- 'to stir up memories'--- or 'faire penser à' would be a more apt translation of 'jog one's memory.'
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011
  11. nhat Senior Member


    I've just found "jar one's memory" in Dan Brown's Inferno: "you need to look at that Vasari mural and hope it jars your memory".
    The main character is struck with amnesia and wants to look at some painting to jog his memory.

    BTW, "remuer la mémoire" does not sound French.

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