There's the kind of forgetting where you once had information in your head that you can no longer retrieve. The phrase "it's on the tip of my tongue" captures this kind of forgetting nicely.

What I'm looking for is a word or phrase for the situation where the information is still accessible, but wasn't triggered in the moment you needed it.


  • "At 1:00, I'll turn off the oven." You get caught up in another task and check the clock too late.
  • You go to the basement to get a tool only to return minutes later empty handed
  • "Oh! Today is May 5. I should stop reading Stack Exchange and wish Soandso a happy birthday!" You reach for your phone and realize you left it in the basement. You find yourself browsing Stack Exchange on Monday again and realize you never sent that text.

Ideally, this would be a single word or phrase you'd use in everyday conversation. Ex: "Sorry, I ____." Or "Sorry, that was ____."

Note that "Sorry, I forgot" can also mean that you don't remember ever being told about that. So "forgot" is too vague for what I'm looking for.

closed as off-topic by AmE speaker, Edwin Ashworth, Bread, Nigel J, choster May 16 '18 at 23:10

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


slip somebody’s ˈmemory/ˈmind

forget about something or forget to do something:

I was supposed to go to the dentist today, but it completely slipped my mind.


"Sorry, I can't recall X at the moment" TFD


the ability to remember information or experiences

  1. Sorry, I have no recollection of hearing that.
  2. Sorry, I have no memory of that.
  • In my mind, recollect best fills the role of a "distinguished word"—as per the title of the question. It's the most formal sounding. (If "formality" isn't important, the question shouldn't have referred to it . . .) – Jason Bassford May 6 '18 at 18:20

This is somewhat obscure, but

I blanked.


My mind blanked.

The Free Dictionary:

    • To become abstracted.  Often used with out:
      My mind blanked out for a few seconds.
    • To fail to find or remember something:
      I blanked when asked the name of our mayor.
Collins English Dictionary:
      go blank
    go blank:
      If your mind goes blank, you are suddenly unable to think of anything appropriate to say, for example in reply to a question.
Oxford English Dictionaries:
      Become blank or empty.
      ‘the picture blanked out’

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.