AskDefine | Define souvenir

Dictionary Definition



1 something of sentimental value [syn: keepsake, token, relic]
2 a reminder of past events [syn: memento]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Souvenir


Alternative spellings


  • /suːvn̩ɪə/


From souvenir.


  1. An item of sentimental value, to remember an event or location; sometimes a cheaply-made item sold for a high price.


item of sentimental value to remember an event or location



From subvenire.



se souvenir


fr-noun m
  1. memory (mental picture).
    Je n'ai pas le souvenir de t'avoir dit ça...
  2. souvenir
    J'ai ramené un souvenir de Paris.

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.
souvenir in German: Souvenir
souvenir in Spanish: Souvenir
souvenir in Persian: ره‌آورد
souvenir in French: Souvenir (objet)
souvenir in Indonesian: Cenderamata
souvenir in Italian: Souvenir
souvenir in Dutch: Souvenir
souvenir in Japanese: 土産
souvenir in Norwegian: Suvenir
souvenir in Russian: Сувенир
souvenir in Finnish: Matkamuisto
souvenir in Swedish: Souvenir
souvenir in Chinese: 手信

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Mnemosyne, affect memory, anterograde memory, atavism, collective memory, commemoration, computer memory, disk memory, drum memory, emotional response, engram, favor, information storage, keepsake, kinesthetic memory, memento, memento mori, memorabilia, memorial, memorials, memories, memory, memory bank, memory circuit, memory trace, mind, mneme, race memory, recollection, relic, remembrance, remembrancer, reminder, screen memory, skill, tape memory, token, token of remembrance, trophy, verbal response, visual memory
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