Peg Memory System

Learn how to memorize short lists

About the Peg Memory System

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):

  1. Bun (one)

  2. Shoe (two)

  3. Tree (three)

  4. Door (four)

  5. Hive (five)

  6. Sticks (six)

  7. Heaven (seven)

  8. Gate (eight)

  9. Wine (nine)

  10. Men (ten)

  11. Leaven (eleven)

  12. 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 SignPeg WordAssociation
1Aries (Ram)BunA ram with a bun caught in its horns
2Taurus (Bull)ShoeA bull in high heels
3Gemini (Twins)Tree Tweedledum and Tweedledee up a tree
4Cancer (Crab)DoorClosing a door against an army of crabs
5Leo (Lion)HiveA lion attacking a bee hive
6Virgo (Virgin)SticksA girl twirling batons
7Libra (Scales)HeavenCloud formation in the shape of a set of scales
8Scorpio (Scorpion) SkateA roller-skating scorpion
9Sagittarius (Archer)WineAn arrow shot at a glass of wine
10Capricorn (Goat)MenMen riding goats
11Aquarius (Water-carrier)Leaven Pouring water over bread dough
12Pisces (Fish)ShelvesA 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.

Psychic Science
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