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memento

[muh-men-toh]
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noun, plural me·men·tos, me·men·toes.
  1. an object or item that serves to remind one of a person, past event, etc.; keepsake; souvenir.
  2. anything serving as a reminder or warning.
  3. (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.
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Origin of memento

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin mementō, imperative of meminisse to remember
Can be confusedmemento 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.

memento mori

[muh-men-toh mawr-ahy, mohr-ahy, mawr-ee, mohr-ee; for 1 also Latin me-men-toh moh-ree]
noun, plural memento mori for 2.
  1. (italics) Latin. remember that you must die.
  2. an object, as a skull, serving as a reminder of death or mortality.
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Origin of memento mori

First recorded in 1585–95, memento mori is from the Latin word mementō morī
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for memento

trophy, relic, keepsake, token, remembrance, reminder, vestige, memorial, trace, remembrancer

Examples from the Web for memento

Contemporary Examples of memento

Historical Examples of memento

  • On the face of a rich man's heir is written the rich man's memento mori!

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • His memento mori was in his bed-chamber, and sat by him at his frugal meal.

  • She had been his wife's friend and, as such, he had given her that silver vinaigrette as a memento.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • "I want this stick as a memento of him," answered the gentleman, sweetly.

  • "Then it is only a memento," I stammered, with very evident feeling.

    The Bronze Hand

    Anna Katharine Green (Mrs. Charles Rohlfs)


British Dictionary definitions for memento

memento

noun plural -tos or -toes
  1. something that reminds one of past events; souvenir
  2. RC Church either of two prayers occurring during the Mass
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Word Origin for memento

C15: from Latin, imperative of meminisse to remember

memento mori

noun
  1. an object, such as a skull, intended to remind people of the inevitability of death
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Word Origin for memento mori

C16: Latin: remember you must die
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

Word Origin and History for memento

n.

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.

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memento mori

n.

"reminder of death," 1590s, Latin, literally "remember that you must die."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper