What noun in English is the best for describing the essence of a long-lasting memory that some person (e.g. spiritual leader or famous musician) leaves after himself? Is it perpetuation, or commemoration, or maybe heritage, or record, or some other word? I know the word notoriety meaning ill fame, but I don’t know any word for the good one.


4 Answers 4



something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past (m-w)

"To leave a legacy" is a common way to refer to an individual having a great impact on future generations. Unqualified it connotes a positive impact, but it can be modified with a negative term (like "legacy of conflict") to refer to a negative impact as well.


"immortality" comes to mind. In addition to "the quality or state of being immortal" it also means:

enduring fame. TFD, "lasting fame" MW, the quality or state of someone that will never be forgotten.

  • He found immortality through his films.
  • Some people want to achieve immortality through their works.

"indelible" meaning something that cannot be erased (by the passage of time.)

A synonom would be "ineffaceable" (edit - which is unrelated to "ineffable" .)

  • 1
    No, ineffable is a separate word; but indelible is an excellent thought. All three are adjectives, and indelible and ineffaceable might modify memory to the proper effect. Sep 25, 2015 at 1:46
  • You are correct - I have learned something, my apologies. Is it permitted to edit my answer and remove the incorrect details? Not sure of the board's etiquette.
    – Criggie
    Sep 25, 2015 at 1:53
  • @Criggie Yes, please do; that's perfectly fine. Sep 25, 2015 at 1:57
  • 2
    And erring and learning, when they travel together, need no apology. Sep 25, 2015 at 1:58

Photographic memory or eidetic memory is the word you're looking for.

  • The Q asked: What noun in English is the best for describing the essence of a long-lasting memory that some person leaves after himself? It is nothing to do with the ability to memorize names, lists, details or events.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 19, 2018 at 16:03

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