The Major System Peg Words

The power of peg words!

One of the really powerful uses of the Major System is as a sort of memory pegboard. As part of your Major System, you create a list of 100 peg words that can then be used as memory hooks to ‘hang’ anything on. As with virtually all memory work, it works by association. In other words, once you’re familiar with your peg words (really familiar, that is!), they become incredibly useful to you, because you can then associate things with the pegs, just as though you’re hanging them on memory hooks on a pegboard. And because you know where the memory hooks are, the items are easy to find!

Oh, and did I mention that the hooks are all numbered? 🙂 So, you don’t just know where things are (i.e. you remember them), you also know exactly where they are in your list (i.e. you know their number, or position, if that’s important to you). That’s the power of peg words!


Use peg words that are things

Since you’re going to create little mental images (or mental videos) of these things, that’s what they should be … things! It’s best to pick nouns, i.e. things, in preference to vague concepts like emotions or times of day or adjectives (such as big, small, green, heavy, pretty). This is a system that’s going to help you remember things more effectively. The last thing you want to do is get confused in the process, and that’s easy to do if you use poorly defined concepts for your peg words. Far better to use words that represent easily imagined things, the type of things that you can imagine in various situations.

I’m giving you a list of 100 memory peg words that conform to the 100 numbers from zero to ninety-nine, but you don’t have to use them. You can use them, of course, just as they are displayed in the table above, but it would be far better if you think about each number and come up with a word (and a mental image) that suits you better. You’ll probably end up using some of my suggestions and lots of words that you’ve come up with yourself. And once you have your list of one hundred peg words (that’s one hundred memory hooks!), you can use them to ‘hang’ things on! That’s when the fun begins!

How to create good peg words

In case you haven’t grasped it yet, peg words are made up of two consonant sounds, one for each of the two digits. So, for example, 24 has the sounds ‘n’ and ‘r’. There are probably lots of words you could use, but I like to use Nero. It’s easy to create a mental image of an emperor, in his toga, with a laurel wreath on his head, and playing a lute or some such instrument.

You can find countless handy suggestions for peg words
on a really useful site called Pinfruit.
Go here and and check it out.

 You could also use Henry, or Norway, or winner, or winery. It’s all about what you’re comfortable with, what works for you. If you know someone called Henry, or you can focus on a well known person by that name, then use Henry, by all means. If you’re hot on geography, maybe you’d like to use Norway.

TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects

Personally, I think things like the names of countries don’t make good memory pegs, but that’s for you to decide. Same goes for ‘narrow’ – that fits the bill, but it’s too vague for my liking.

Words that make ideal memory pegs are nouns, i.e. actual things, such as, for example, mouse, lamb, cheese, jet, tack, soap, badge, and key. These are actual things, and it’s easy to visualise them, and to link them to anything you want to commit to memory.

Once you settle on the words for your list, write them down and study them. Repetition is a great teacher – run through your list of peg words regularly, at least once a day, for a while, and you’ll find the peg words start to come quickly to mind whenever you want to memorise a particular item and link it to a number.

Mastering the Major System

If you want to practise your command of the Major System, set yourself a goal of memorising a list of 25 random things, and when you can do that (which won’t be difficult with a system like this to support you), move on to longer lists. Be confident! If you’ve managed to memorise a list of 25 items, accept the fact that your memory is alive and well and paying attention. Put aside any negative thoughts about your memory and move on to greater things, confidently and with the knowledge that you’re smarter than you ever realised.

Numbered coat hooks in a row - peg words

If you leave something on a hook, and it’s numbered, it’s much easier to find!

As you come to each item, see it connected to the relevant memory peg, and make it a weird, or humorous, or sexy, or violent connection. Make the images in your mind colourful, add sound effects to the action, and make things bigger, brighter and more impressive that they are in real life. Remember, the brain absolutely thrives on novelty. It is bombarded every second of the day with thousands and thousands of impressions, and it has a vetting system in operation – anything ordinary and boring is automatically passed over, and only the unusual is eagerly pounced on.

As I said earlier, one of the great advantages of this method is that as well as memorising the list, you will know the exact numerical position of each item. You’ll be able to run though your memorised list quite easily, hopping from one memory peg to the next and seeing the associated item ‘on the peg’. And if you want to know any item’s position, all you have to do is take a mental glance at it and see what memory peg it’s occupying. It’s that simple! And once you’ve been using the Major System for a while, and finding how easy it is to successfully memorise things with it, you’ll be hooked! 😉

To learn more about the Major System, take a look at these other pages: learn the Major System basics, learn how to use the Major System as a Mental Notebook, and learn the Major System in Pictures.

All the links you need are also in the sidebar >>


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