AskDefine | Define memorabilia

Dictionary Definition

memorabilia n : a record of things worth remembering

User Contributed Dictionary



From 1800–1810, the word memorābilia (things to be remembered), which is the n p of the word memorābile, neuter of the word memorābilis, or memorable.


  1. Objects that are connected to or remind their owner of past events.
    George has a collection of World War II memorabilia.


Extensive Definition

A souvenir (from French, for memory), memento or keepsake is an object a traveler brings home for the memories associated with it. Souvenirs include clothing such as T-shirts or hats, and household items such as mugs and bowls, ashtrays, egg timers, spoons and notepads. They may be marked to indicate their origin: "A Souvenir from Clacton-on-Sea". Souvenirs frequently have a reputation for being tasteless.
In Japan, souvenirs are known as meibutsu (products associated with a particular region); and omiyage, candies or other edibles to be shared with co-workers. Omiyage sales are big business at Japanese tourist sites.
Travelers may buy souvenirs as gifts for those who did not make the trip. In Cameroon, the principle is that someone who can afford to travel can afford to bring something back (as a gift, or cadeau) for those who cannot. French bread is a popular cadeau.


Similar to a souvenir, memorabilia (from Latin, for memorable) is an object that is treasured for its memories; however, unlike souvenirs, memorabilia are valued for a connection to a historical event, culture or entertainment. Such items include cigarette cards, air sickness bags, publicity photographs, posters, entertainment-related merchandise, movie memorabilia, and other, often-licensed, items.

Souvenirs in Japan

In Japan, souvenirs are called omiyage. These are customary gifts typically given by someone upon returning from a trip to be given to family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, business associates, teachers, classmates and any other person socially related to the returning vacationer. By age-old Japanese conventions, it is shameful to arrive or return empty-handed and such acts as going on a vacation away from one's society could be perceived as selfish in a manner, anti-social at the very least. The omiyage gift placates all concerned and smooths intricate social ties, absolving the traveler of such shame. Omiyage shows the traveler was thinking of his or her family and community members while away.
Because of the number of omiyage often required following a vacation, travelers need to buy souvenirs in bulk (it is not unusual to bring one empty suitcase solely for the omiyage). Thoughtfulness is always an issue. It cannot look too cheap, and it is preferred it be something universally practical like towels, dinnerware, tasteful decorative items, broadly-popular foods and the like. It is not even necessary the choice of omiyage be particularly relevant to the place visited. Key chains and unfamiliar foods are not well received.
Places that cater to Japanese travelers will offer selections of suitable omiyage arranged by price, size and category. Several items of all-purpose omiyage are often kept by wise housewives to give on a moment's notice to avoid embarrassments. Due to the expense and effort involved in collecting and distributing omiyage, Japanese are often very close-lipped about their travel plans, hoping to minimize their omiyage responsibilities.
memorabilia in German: Souvenir
memorabilia in Spanish: Souvenir
memorabilia in Persian: ره‌آورد
memorabilia in French: Souvenir (objet)
memorabilia in Indonesian: Cenderamata
memorabilia in Italian: Souvenir
memorabilia in Dutch: Souvenir
memorabilia in Japanese: 土産
memorabilia in Norwegian: Suvenir
memorabilia in Russian: Сувенир
memorabilia in Finnish: Matkamuisto
memorabilia in Swedish: Souvenir
memorabilia in Chinese: 手信

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Clio, Muse of history, adventures, ana, annals, archives, autobiography, biographical material, biographical records, biographical sketch, biography, case history, chronicle, chronicles, chronology, commemoration, confessions, curriculum vitae, diary, experiences, favor, fortunes, government archives, government papers, great doings, hagiography, hagiology, historical documents, historical records, historiography, history, journal, keepsake, legend, life, life and letters, life records, life story, martyrology, matter of concern, matter of importance, memento, memento mori, memoir, memoirs, memorial, memorials, memories, necrology, obituary, object of note, papers, parish rolls, photobiography, point of interest, presidential papers, profile, public records, record, relic, remembrance, remembrancer, resume, something special, souvenir, story, theory of history, thing of interest, token, token of remembrance, trophy, vital concern
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