me·​men·​to | \ mə-ˈmen-(ˌ)tō, nonstandard mō- \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

He was gassed and wounded on June 12, according to a small pocket diary his descendants keep as a memento. Virginia Mayo,, "Marines’ bravery celebrated 100 years after French battle," 27 May 2018 Even the harmless memento reveals a misunderstanding in America about Russia and its culture. Elizabeth Myong, Houston Chronicle, "Russians in Houston have diverse views on international affairs," 8 July 2018 But perhaps the most precious and unusual memento comes from one of their most famous fans, Taylor Swift. Nancy Kruh,, "Little Big Town Exhibit Showcases Career Highs, Lows — and a One-of-a-Kind Gift from Taylor Swift," 29 June 2018 Davis said Armstrong gave the mementos to her husband, Robert Davis. Kristine Phillips, ajc, "Neil Armstrong gave her a vial of moon dust, she says. She's suing so NASA won't take it.," 12 June 2018 This prompted me to take a longer look at the memento in my medicine cabinet. Adam Tschorn,, "As Father's Day approaches, a vintage Old Spice bottle sheds new light on my departed dad," 8 June 2018 But those weren't the only parade mementos to be had. Carol Wolfram,, "Krewe of Dionysus throws "World Premier" parade in Slidell: See the photos," 4 Feb. 2018 In the days after the homicides, which made international headlines, the transit station was transformed with hundreds of chalk declarations of love and peace, and piles of flowers and other mementoes were left as a sign of solidarity. Andrew Theen,, "MAX anniversary ceremony will honor 'heroes,' the dead and the community outpouring," 25 May 2018 It was made using Chinese materials by Chinese makers, endorsed by her new Chinese friends as a memento of her first major trip through China. Connie Wang,, "I’ve Written About Cultural Appropriation For 10 Years. Here’s What I Got Wrong.," 24 May 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about memento

Listen to Our Podcast about memento

Statistics for memento

Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for memento

The first known use of memento was in 1580

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \
plural mementos or mementoes

Kids Definition of memento

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on memento

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for memento

Spanish Central: Translation of memento

Nglish: Translation of memento for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of memento for Arabic Speakers

Comments on memento

What made you want to look up memento? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!