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[muh-men-toh] /məˈmɛn toʊ/
noun, plural mementos, mementoes.
an object or item that serves to remind one of a person, past event, etc.; keepsake; souvenir.
anything serving as a reminder or warning.
(initial capital letter, italics) Roman Catholic Church. either of two prayers in the canon of the Mass, one for persons living and the other for persons dead.
Origin of memento
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin mementō, imperative of meminisse to remember
Can be confused
memento, momentum.
Usage note
Memento is sometimes spelled momento, perhaps by association with moment. The word is actually related to remember. One of its earliest meanings was “something that serves to warn.” The meaning “souvenir” is a recent development: The stone animal carvings are mementos of our trip to Victoria. Momento is considered by many to be a misspelling, but it occurs so frequently in edited writing that some regard it as a variant spelling rather than an error. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for mementos
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • mementos from far-off wonderland are woven into the speech and character of the famous pair.

    Homer's Odyssey Denton J. Snider
  • The father of her son looks into her eyes and points to the mementos of their early love.

    Iconoclasts James Huneker
  • These lads had picked up shells on and beneath the dock to keep as mementos of the "Battle."

    The Everett massacre Walker C. Smith
  • The date showed that it had been given to her by his father, and the shirt and doll were mementos of him, her darling—of himself.

  • They also place them about and upon the dead bodies of their friends, as mementos of affection.

    Letters from Palestine J. D. Paxton
  • Only the day before he had found and destroyed a little hoard of mementos which seemed to reproach him with his lack of success.

    The Barrier Allen French
  • Then she brought two other mementos and hung them also on the wall.

    The Master of Warlock George Cary Eggleston
British Dictionary definitions for mementos


noun (pl) -tos, -toes
something that reminds one of past events; souvenir
(RC Church) either of two prayers occurring during the Mass
Word Origin
C15: from Latin, imperative of meminisse to remember
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mementos



c.1400, "Psalm cxxxi in the Canon of the Mass" (which begins with the Latin word Memento and in which the dead are commemorated), from Latin memento "remember," imperative of meminisse "to remember, recollect, think of, bear in mind," a reduplicated form, related to mens "mind" (see mind (n.)). Meaning "reminder, object serving as a warning" is from 1580s; sense of "keepsake" is first recorded 1768.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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