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Is anybody familiar with the use of remember as in remember me to her/him? I think I've see it in 19th century literature. Most likely it's archaic.

I believe the speaker is commanding someone to give somebody his regards, or say hello. It seems awkward to hear it now as we only use remember in the imperative to remind someone of something, as in, "remember to walk the dog".

Where does this use of remember come from and is it out of use?

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Scarborough Fair: "Remember me to one who lives there, / She once was a true love of mine." –  jon_darkstar Apr 16 '11 at 21:16

5 Answers 5

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Looks like its use is fading fairly quickly. Too bad. Seems a more meaningful way of expressing the sentiment for which we now say tell him I said "hi."

Ngram: "remember me to," 1700-2000

Found reference of remember me to... from 1602:

Remember me to the "most worthy Governor."

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The graph above is pretty amazing. What is the rational for the use of such minute percentages? Also, I agree that it is a much more personal and meaningful way of giving regards to someone than saying "Tell him I said hi". –  gbutters Apr 17 '11 at 17:30
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@gbutters: Because the phrase I entered has three words, Google Ngrams calls it a 3-gram. The y-axis of the graph above indicates the percentage of 3-grams, or three-word groupings, in all of the millions of texts scanned into Google books that equal remember me to. You can find more explanation of this here. Really an amazing tool. –  Callithumpian Apr 18 '11 at 1:34

19th-century literature?

The 3,322-year old Bible (Genesis 40:14) says that Joseph requested of the official in charge of the wine in Pharaoh's palace, "Only, remember me along with you, when he (Pharaoh does good to you, then you shall do kindness with me, and remember me to Pharaoh, that he remove me from this home (Joseph was in jail on trumped-up charges.)" (This is actually my free translation of the original Hebrew text.)

Truthfully, the verb used is 'le-hazkir,' commonly translated as 'to mention,' but in fact 'le-hazkir' is simply the word 'lizkor,' -- 'to remember' -- in the 'hif-il' verb form, which is often used when causing someone else to do something.

So, perhaps this is the source of the English phrase 'remember me to him' -- a mistranslation, of perhaps a too-exact translation, of the phrase in the Bible.

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Very intriguing! –  Uticensis Apr 17 '11 at 3:56
    
Yes, great addition, I would be interested to see if anyone can cite any research on this. –  gbutters Apr 17 '11 at 17:25

ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French remembrer, from late Latin rememorari ‘call to mind,’ from re- (expressing intensive force) + Latin memor ‘mindful.’ [NOAD]

It is equivalent to the statement "commend me to ..." which is the more archaic expression. "Rememember me to ..." is formal and perhaps a bit dated in the sense that all formal expressions seem to be growing dated, but is still used and heard in the right setting.

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Remember (someone) to means "convey greetings from one person to another." It is not an archaic use.

Remember me to Andrew.

The Corpus of Contemporary American English reports just a sentence where remember is used with that meaning, though.

Remember me to him, if you get that far.

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OED lists this as meaning #17 for remember; first example is

1560 Gresham in Burgon Life I. 302 To whom it may please you, I maye be remembered.

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