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

Understandably, fans will be hoping to hear from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the special day, and will be looking to Instagram for mementos of the occasion. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle's 38th Birthday Plans Are Seriously Low-Key," 3 Aug. 2019 Historians are skeptical that Bundy actually left the autograph himself — he was tried in a separate building that has since been razed — but just seeing the real-life memento of crime and punishment made Olson shiver. Matthew J. Palm,, "CFCArts’ ‘12 Angry Jurors’ puts the audience in the courtroom," 2 Aug. 2019 The family made wood carvings, weavings, and other crafts to sell to tourists as well, small mementos of time spent in the family’s home in the shadow of the mountains. Michael Canyon Meyer, Outside Online, "The Murder of Venezuela's Visionary Adventure Guide," 24 June 2019 Tips for conquering this buffet: Stop at the Total Snapshot Kiosk for a photo memento of your visit. Melissa Yeager, azcentral, "Best Las Vegas buffets: 22 all-you-can-eat restaurants on the Strip," 7 June 2019 Edgardo’s immediate identification with the dead heron, useless as anything but a memento of past life, triggers a determination to end his own existence that paradoxically cheers him up immensely. Tim Parks, Harper's magazine, "Behind the High Walls," 10 Feb. 2019 Thousands of life-jackets were scattered on the shore, like neon memento moris. The Economist, "Ben Quilty’s paintings depict violence, loss and “death jackets”," 9 Aug. 2019 Each guests takes home a pearl from Adler’s New Orleans as a memento. Ann Maloney,, "21 - and counting - summer 2019 dining deals in New Orleans," 5 June 2019 Workers had unearthed numerous fossils during the excavation, and the Izods had kept this one as a memento. Quanta Magazine, "How Humans Evolved Supersize Brains," 10 Nov. 2015

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

30 Aug 2019

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 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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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).


concealment of treason or felony

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