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

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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

Visitors leave mementos on the wire box enclosures that surround the crosses: Flowers, cans of Copenhagen, fire department patches. Anne Ryman, azcentral, "Granite Mountain Hotshots: An untold story from the day 19 firefighters died," 23 June 2018 Their mementos to remember the trip by: empty butter tubs, crumpled burger foil wrappers, dirty paper napkins and a few pounds of leftover food, among other things. Sarah Bowman, Indianapolis Star, "Carmel teacher's family road trip across the U.S. takes a 'trashy' turn," 19 June 2018 Leaving mementos at the memorial’s Wall has been a tradition since the polished stone landmark bearing the names of the 58,000 Vietnam War dead was dedicated in 1982. Michael E. Ruane,, "Veterans’ group to bury remains left at the Vietnam Wall," 30 May 2018 They were not intended to be art objects hung in a museum, but personal mementos, and have the aura of their original function. William Meyers, WSJ, "‘Volta Photo’ Review: The Tune of Creativity," 1 May 2018 People filed into the team's home arena Sunday night for a vigil, filing up entry steps piled with flowers, jerseys and personal mementos in a makeshift memorial. Fox News, "Canada town grieves after road crash decimates youth team," 9 Apr. 2018 Over time, numerous photographs and other Wayne mementos had been donated to the museum. J. Harry Jones,, "Small Valley Center history museum draws big crowds," 13 July 2018 It’s filled with game balls and other mementos from a Hall of Fame life. Erik Brady, USA TODAY, "How old is former NFL coach Marv Levy? His dad was wounded in World War I," 27 June 2018 The Visalia Ransacker would typically break in when no one was home and take personal mementos, as would the Golden State Killer when the rape spree began two years later and hundreds of miles away. The Washington Post,, "Georgia cop fired after he ran over fleeing suspect with his car," 3 June 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.

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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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Statistics for memento

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for memento

The first known use of memento was in 1580

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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 \
plural mementos or mementoes

Kids Definition of memento

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

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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).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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