me·​men·​to | \ mə-ˈmen-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce memento (audio) , nonstandard mō- How to pronounce memento (audio) \
plural mementos or mementoes

Definition of memento

: something that serves to warn or remind a museum filled with war mementos— Libby Lubin also : souvenir mementos of their travels

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Did You Know?

Memento comes from the imperative form of "meminisse," a Latin verb that literally means "to remember." (The term memento mori, meaning "a reminder of mortality," translates as "remember that you must die.") The history of "memento" makes it clear where its spelling came from, but because a memento often helps one remember a particular moment, people occasionally spell the term "momento." That second version is usually considered a misspelling, but it appears often enough in edited prose to have been considered acceptable for entry in Webster's Third New International Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary.

Examples of memento in a Sentence

a collection of photographs and mementos It was a memento of our trip.
Recent Examples on the Web The Wild kept up its tradition of recognizing a player of the game following Thursday's win, but the memento players will pass around this season is new. Sarah Mclellan, Star Tribune, "Wild rookie Kirill Kaprizov appreciates Zach Parise's mentorship," 16 Jan. 2021 There will be a small shelf for each name where someone can leave a memento to honor the dead. Ben Brasch, ajc, "Atlanta Child Murder victims to be honored with wall, ‘eternal flame’," 2 Feb. 2021 Before being sent on a mission, pilots were likely told that an unlikely memento from home could be the difference between life and death if they were ever captured. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "In 1944, U.S. POWs Got the Best X-Mas Gift of All—An Escape Map," 24 Dec. 2020 Still, Cece covertly steals a pillow from the hallowed lounge for Schmidt as a memento of his time there. Ariana Romero,, "Cece & Schmidt Are New Girl’s Most Underrated Couple. The Holiday Episodes Are Proof," 21 Dec. 2020 About halfway through our conversation, Ladouceur opened a compartment in the upper part of his locker and showed me a special memento. Kristi Scales, Dallas News, "5 things you probably didn’t know about Cowboys long snapper L.P. Ladouceur," 19 Dec. 2020 Borman treasures the bottle of perfume that his late yia-yia, or grandmother (in Greek), left him as a memento. Pam Defiglio,, "Column: Months after COVID-19, young people worry whether they’ll be able to taste food ever again," 14 Dec. 2020 Kate was handed a Welsh lovespoon – a wooden carved memento of Wales – by sports coaching student Gwennan Lewis, 20. Simon Perry,, "Kate Middleton and Prince William Take Part in Secret Santa — and William Loves His Gift!," 8 Dec. 2020 For nearly three decades, Sonny Vaccaro had only told a few people that a unique memento of his long relationship with Michael Jordan had been wrapped up and hidden away in his wife Pam’s closet. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Michael Jordan's auctioned sneakers from 1991 NBA Finals to give Sonny Vaccaro closure," 24 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'memento.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of memento

1580, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for memento

Middle English, from Latin, remember, imperative of meminisse to remember; akin to Latin ment-, mens mind — more at mind

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Time Traveler for memento

Time Traveler

The first known use of memento was in 1580

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Last Updated

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Memento.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for memento



English Language Learners Definition of memento

: something that is kept as a reminder of a person, place, or thing


me·​men·​to | \ mi-ˈmen-tō How to pronounce memento (audio) \
plural mementos or mementoes

Kids Definition of memento

: something that serves as a reminder She collected mementos on her trip.

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Comments on memento

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