He still had the moment filed away in his memory.

Is the meaning of the sentence I wrote widely understood?
Should that sentence be used in a particular context (e.g., when writing a book)?


The sentence sounds fine grammatically, it's perfectly understandable, and it evokes some nice imagery that could be useful for characterization - i.e. this person is perhaps more organized (and/or rigid) than most.

  • 1
    "Filed away in my memory" is a perfectly standard idiom, which you will see by googling the phrase, or checking in Google Books. Looking on Ngram suggests its use started about 1940. It simply means it's stored in your memory. It might certainly suggest a more organised mind, but I don't see any idea of rigidity here. – RandomIdeaEnglish Feb 9 '12 at 22:29

Your usage sounds fine.

Though I wouldn't say use it if I talked about my first kiss, for example.


Just be aware that the meaning is subjective. The other answers here so far indicate that for some people, "filed away" means something along the lines of "alphabetised, categorised, taxonomically classified, and available for instant retrieval". For me, it means "I can find it if I really have to, but it'll be a chore at best". I guess it depends on whether you're a clean desk or a messy desk. I live in heaps, bundles and piles; the only things straightened away are things I'm pretty sure I won't be needing any time soon.

  • I'm definitely a messy desk person ("If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, what does an empty desk signify?"), but the word "filed" brings to mind file folders and filing cabinets and so forth. Piles on a desk are not files, and stacking things in chronological layers is not a filing system, even if we humorously call it that. – Marthaª Feb 22 '11 at 14:45
  • @Martha: For what it's worth, I voted all of the other answers up before adding my own. I'm surprised (and a little dismayed) to see that it's the current front-runner. – bye Feb 22 '11 at 15:38

There is nothing wrong with your sentence. It is a perfect way to put up the unforgettable / everlasting event stored in ones memory. The event might be a pleasing one or something that is too bad, but in both context, the usage of your sentence brings its importance to the person involved.


Grammatically, your usage is fine. It would be helpful to have more context. "Filed away" means something like "Not immediately acted upon, but remembered for future reference or activity". The high school jock embarrassed me in biology class, so I filed away the incident so I could bring it up at our ten-year reunion when he was pumping gas for a living.

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