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 Lovells’ home is a lovely place, filled with space memorabilia and, more important, family pictures and mementos, reflecting a sprawling clan that now stretches down to the great-grandchild generation. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "NASA Saw Apollo 13 as a Fiasco. 50 Years Later, Astronaut Jim Lovell Has Made Peace With the 'Successful Failure'," 10 Apr. 2020 Here’s a helpful, manageable task: Digitize your important paper documents and mementos, like birth certificates and family photos. Shira Ovide, New York Times, "When Silly Start-Ups Falter, We All Lose," 2 Apr. 2020 But the flowers, hugs, mementos, tears and cheers lose a meaning if the ending isn’t right. oregonlive, "Oregon State seniors celebrate a regular season-ending 73-58 win over Washington State," 2 Mar. 2020 Thanks to the governor’s largesse with such 9/11 mementos, the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, Mark Sokolich, ended up with more pieces of WTC steel than any office-holder or official body besides the New York Fire Department. Andrea Bernstein, The New York Review of Books, "Corruption with No Consequences, from Bridgegate to Impeachment," 31 Jan. 2020 But take a closer look at the dates on those mementos, and the casual observer might wonder what’s happened to the program for the last decade and a half. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Can Male capture its first Seventh Region boys basketball title in 17 years?," 21 Nov. 2019 The Emmy Award-winning documentarian travels every day with these four mementos, gifts from fans of his more than 30 films. Melinda Newman, Billboard, "How Ken Burns' New Documentary Will 'Redefine What People Think of As Country Music'," 9 May 2019 Many offer photography, along with mementos such as footprints and locks of hair. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, "A Photographer Has Spent 20 Years Documenting Stillbirths," 18 Feb. 2020 This year, however, mementos that had been at a grave for more than 10 years were removed, and in one case, statues that were glued to a headstone were removed. USA TODAY, "Mussel eco-tourism, Morgan Freeman, firework fix: News from around our 50 states," 14 Mar. 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

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Memento.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for memento


How to pronounce memento (audio) How to pronounce memento (audio)

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

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