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This paper presents a theoretical framework intended to accommodate circuit devices described by characteristics involving more than two fundamental variables. This framework is motivated by the recent appearance of a variety of so-called mem-devices in circuit theory, and makes it possible to model the coexistence of memory effects of different nature in a single device. With a compact formalism, this setting accounts for classical devices and also for circuit elements which do not admit a two-variable description. Fully nonlinear characteristics are allowed for all devices, driving the analysis beyond the framework of Chua and Di Ventra We classify these fully nonlinear circuit elements in terms of the variables involved in their constitutive relations and the notions of the differential- and the state-order of a device. We extend the notion of a topologically degenerate configuration to this broader context, and characterize the differential-algebraic index of nodal models of such circuits. Additionally, we explore certain dynamical features of mem-circuits involving manifolds of non-isolated equilibria. Related bifurcation phenomena are explored for a family of nonlinear oscillators based on mem-devices.