The Peg System is a mnemonic method for learning and remembering lists of items.
The method works by associating each item in the list with a previously learned "peg word" that represents the numerical position of the item.
For very short lists, peg words can be simple rhymes for the numbers, for example (English):
- Bun (one)
- Shoe (two)
- Tree (three)
- Door (four)
- Hive (five)
- Sticks (six)
- Heaven (seven)
- Gate (eight)
- Wine (nine)
- Men (ten)
- Leaven (eleven)
- Shelves (twelve)
For long lists, you can use the Major System to generate peg words for any number
Suppose you wish to remember the order of signs of the Zodiac.
To remember this sequence, you would create memorable images that link together the peg word for each number with the corresponding zodiac sign. For example:
No. Zodiac Sign Peg Word Association 1 Aries (Ram) Bun A ram with a bun caught in its horns 2 Taurus (Bull) Shoe A bull in high heels 3 Gemini (Twins) Tree Tweedledum and Tweedledee up a tree 4 Cancer (Crab) Door Closing a door against an army of crabs 5 Leo (Lion) Hive A lion attacking a bee hive 6 Virgo (Virgin) Sticks A girl twirling batons 7 Libra (Scales) Heaven Cloud formation in the shape of a set of scales 8 Scorpio (Scorpion) Skate A roller-skating scorpion 9 Sagittarius (Archer) Wine An arrow shot at a glass of wine 10 Capricorn (Goat) Men Men riding goats 11 Aquarius (Water-carrier) Leaven Pouring water over bread dough 12 Pisces (Fish) Shelves A shelf of fish heads
The Peg System (especially when combined with the Major System for generating peg words) is wonderfully versatile.
The main disadvantage is that if you use the method for many lists, you may have trouble remembering which of many possible associations to the peg word is the correct one.