What do you call the objects that make you remember other things or that you keep to remember a moment or a place? I mean souvenirs, photographs, etc.


8 Answers 8




  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.

They offered tea, a smoke, and an Egyptian flag as a memento.


Definition №1 is probably most relevant here, even using the word you mention.

  • 1
    It's also worth noting (considering the title of this question) that memento means remember in Latin (imperative of meminisse). (Etymonline)
    – Kyle
    Nov 30, 2016 at 1:02
  • @Kyle Which afaik probably comes from the greek verb "memnèmai" (used in the word "mnemotechnic") Nov 30, 2016 at 10:19
  • @PierreArlaud or, more familiarly to me, mnemonic. For example FACE for the notes of the spaces of the treble clef in music or SOCAHTOA for the relationship between the trig functions of the other two angles of a right angled triangle
    – BoldBen
    Jul 5, 2022 at 5:33

A little old-fashioned, but still perfectly good, and in my opinion, rather charming:


something that helps you remember a person, place, or occasion: Her aunt gave her a little wooden elephant as a keepsake.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

I think this fits very well with the question (something that you keep to remember a moment or a place).


Memory Trigger

It is a rather self-explanatory answer and to those who doubt it, this phrase is used: Ngrams

Those who were given the cassis smell remembered more details about the film and found their memories more unpleasant and arousing than those who had the background music as a memory trigger, although the lights and the smell were equally effective.


This would be used in a more scientific context and suggests a more official usage rather than a memento — a more homely item that you would keep on your mantelpiece.

  • I believe a memory trigger works more on a physical level, I've mostly heard it connected with smell, which uses some pathways in the brain to bring back even memories we almost forgot we had.
    – The Vee
    Nov 29, 2016 at 11:45


1.An aid to the memory, especially a book or document.
Example sentences.
‘His hundreds of sketchbooks were invaluable aide-memoire, and he kept them well organized so he could quickly locate what he wanted.’
‘These photos later served as aides-memoires for the large decorative panels.’
Mid 19th century: from French aide-mémoire, from aider to help and mémoire memory. — O-D


Not quite what you're looking for, I think, but if it's remembering a moment or place in the sense of memorising facts, you may consider



  1. a system such as a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations which assists in remembering something.
  • Ah, yes -- don't forget Mnemosyne!
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 29, 2016 at 12:35
  • 2
    @HotLicks Should auld acquaintance be forgot, for the lack of Mnemosyne... ;)
    – Graham
    Nov 29, 2016 at 13:12

If the object doesn't evoke a memory personal to the owner, memorabilia might be a good term.

mem·o·ra·bil·i·a (mem(ə)rəˈbilēə)


objects kept or collected because of their historical interest, especially those associated with memorable people or events.

"World Series memorabilia"

archaic - memorable or noteworthy things.

(Google Answer Box for Memorabilia)

  • @choster You're absolutely right. I'll add the source. And thanks for the links. Dec 4, 2016 at 17:05

It could be called a mnemonic object which the "Memory Techniques Wiki" explains in more detail:

The "mnemonic object" method is based on the Von Restorff Effect, which says that items that stand out are more easily remembered. By placing a familiar object in an unfamiliar context, you can intentionally trigger the recall of a memory when that out-of-place object is seen again.

In Italian, we like to say "ricordo" (another word for a souvenir or momento) or the more commonly used word, "bombiniere" (a keepsake given at celebrations).

Hope this helps :)

Sources: http://mt.artofmemory.com/wiki/How_to_Remember_Things_with_a_Mnemonic_Object https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ricordo#Italian http://mt.artofmemory.com/wiki/How_to_Remember_Things_with_a_Mnemonic_Object



  1. a. The act or process of remembering.
    b. The state of being remembered: holds him in fond remembrance.
  2. Something serving to celebrate or honor the memory of a person or event; a memorial.
  3. The length of time over which one's memory extends: events within my remembrance.
  4. Something remembered; a reminiscence.
  5. A souvenir.
  6. remembrances Greetings: Please give my remembrances to your mother.



  1. something that recalls the past
  2. a note to remind a person of something not done

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