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One example could be when you meet a person (Peter Parker) and remember only that his name starts with P or may Par.

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  • Duplicate question contains '... I wasn't able to exactly recall 'Carl Sagan' but was in that situation where I could feel I almost remember it. I could recall there was the letter 'C' in his name.' in the body. Feb 4, 2020 at 14:49

4 Answers 4

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An example of this could be a "hazy" or "vague" recollection. Assuming you're looking for a word that means to partially recall something.

"hazy": https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/hazy

"vague": https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/vague

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  • This answer will be improved by including dictionary references for the suggested words. Feb 4, 2020 at 15:08
  • Oh yes, of course. Added. Thanks @KillingTime
    – Danny
    Feb 4, 2020 at 16:12
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Well, let me offer you not a word but an idiom: on the tip of (one's) tongue

According to the Free Dictionary

  1. If something such as a word, answer, or name is on the tip of your tongue, you know it and can almost remember

You can almost remember Peter's surname but not fully complete.

As pointed by @nnnnn, notice that it also applies when you can't remember any part of the word you're trying to think of, it's not specific to remembering part of the word.

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  • "I'll remember it the moment you say it..."
    – WS2
    Feb 4, 2020 at 8:42
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    Apparently "tip of the tongue phenomenon" is the term used by a number of psychologists and researchers. See also the relevant Straight Dope article. (Of course TOT also applies when you can't remember any part of the word you're trying to think of, it's not specific to remembering part of the word.)
    – nnnnnn
    Feb 4, 2020 at 9:35
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    @nnnnnn You're right, it's not specific to just part of the word. I've included your statement
    – RubioRic
    Feb 4, 2020 at 9:47
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In psychology/memory studies, this is called interference or rather a specific type of interference called retroactive, this is when later learning (this can be any information) hinders previously discovered or “learnt” material:

the tendency of later learning to hinder the memory of previously learned material.

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    This rather assumes that the lack of precision in memory is caused by interference and not, say, by simply forgetting. I agree that interference may cause partial memory loss, but not that it is the only potential cause. Feb 4, 2020 at 8:17
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Glimmering 'could' be the word you are reaching for. In other words, just a glimpse of the word you really want.

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