I'm looking for a word that describes an item left for someone else to find (possibly a specific person, maybe anyone), for the purpose of communication or posterity. Examples might be notes, photos, or trinkets.

The idea is something like a cross between a memento and a cache, and is most about the intention to leave it for finding.

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    'time capsule' doesn't capture this?
    – John Feltz
    Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 3:31
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    What is supposed to be communicated? Is there a search that's required or will the person or people know that something's been left? Also a memento is an item but a cache is a place. I'm not sure I see how it can be a cross between the two . . . Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 3:32
  • @JohnFeltz similar concept actually, but far less official--think leaving a note for my wife in the morning, or the ending to Shawshank when he finds the box near the tree; @/JasonBassford it's combining those two concepts actually, leaving the memento in a specific place. Hopefully this isn't too confusing (the Shawshank example I think captures it pretty well). Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 3:39
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    "I secreted a note/keepsake/photo" - but that's about the action, not the thing
    – John Feltz
    Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 3:43
  • It doesn't have to be clandestine, and I kind of like the concept of lagan meaning "anything sunk in the sea, but attached to a buoy or the like so that it may be recovered." Commented Aug 11, 2018 at 3:49

1 Answer 1


Easter egg. OK, hear me out. I thought of hiding Easter eggs for children to find. Then I realised Easter egg is the common term for things video game developers hide in video games for a player to discover. It can be anything, usually it's an allusion, joke or some other object embedded in a video game by the developers for a player to find. They are hidden, but not so secretively that you won't find it, kind of like hiding Easter eggs for kids, they're intended to be found.

enter image description here
This screenshot is taken at the top of a parody of the Golden Gate Bridge in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004).

So I've checked, hoping that this term has spread beyond just video games, and apparently it has, though to what extent I'm not sure:

Easter egg (media)

It mentions Easter eggs in comics and video.

Pixar Animation Studios are known for their inclusion of multiple Easter eggs in their films.
(At source above given, under "Popular culture")

I have no idea how familiar this term is to people in general or to what extent it's achieved a generic meaning outside its original meaning. I suppose many older people or those without much interest in software or video games won't be familiar with this use.

However, an advantage is that even if unfamiliar with this usage, an Easter egg hunt is popularly known enough that "Easter egg" can easily be used as a metaphor for something hidden and intended to be found. I know you didn't ask for a metaphor, just saying. Also, it's not a single word.

  • That's not at all wrong but you're talking about pure jargon, not English. Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 20:07

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