Mnemonic Peg System

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A peg system is a Mnemonic technique for memorizing lists using a Peg List. It works by pre-memorizing a list of words that are easy to associate with the numbers they represent (1 to 10, 1-100, 1-1000, etc.). Those objects form the “pegs” of the system.

To rapidly memorize a list of arbitrary objects, each one is associated with the mnemonic image for the appropriate peg. Generally, a Peg List only has to be memorized one time, and can then be used over and over every time a list of items needs to be memorized.

Many people have come across the peg list system via the books of Harry Lorayne.

It’s an alternative to the Method of Loci (a.k.a., Memory Palaces).

Peg Word System

A peg word system is a Peg List that uses words as pegs. A Number Rhyme System is an example of a peg word system.

Each number from 1 to 10 can be given a rhyming mnemonic keyword:

  • one - gun
  • two - shoe
  • three - tree
  • four - door
  • five - hive
  • six - sticks
  • seven - heaven
  • eight - bait (for fishing)
  • nine - wine
  • ten - pen

If you have a list of things to memorize, like a shopping list, you can associate each item of the list with a number rhyme image. So if your shopping list is: carrots, milk, bread, eggs, rice, etc., make associations like this:

  • One is “gun” — imagine a gun shooting a pile of carrots, the first item on your shopping list.
  • Two is “shoe” — imagine cleaning your muddy shoe with a bottle of milk.
  • Three is “tree” — imagine bread growing on a tree.
  • Four is “door” — imagine throwing eggs at a door.
  • Etc.

Once you’ve associated each item in your shopping list with a number peg, you’ll be able to mentally walk through the numbers, recall the rhymes (“what was the gun shooting?”), and recall the item (“carrots”).

Peg List System for Memory League Images

Simon Orton came up with a peg list system that works well in the Memory League Images Event.

See Also