How do you figure that souvenir means memory? I could make the case for memory aid, but it surely doesn’t mean memory. Its English equivalent, etymologically speaking, is to subvene. Depending on the context, synonyms for souvenir are:
keepsake when referring to something of sentimental value
remembrance when referring to a reminder of past events.
Thanks to the Battle of Hastings, a lot of French has entered the English language: a cow that ends up on the dinner table is beef (from the French bœuf meaning ox). Similarly, …
…there is a French word souvenir that means memory when it’s a noun; however, …
…when used as a verb se souvenir means to remember. It’s reflexive (“se”), so to remind oneself (of something,) might be a grammatically more accurate translation. Note that there is also the French word mémoire which also means memory.
So just like with the Battle of Hastings, we have Julius Cesar to thank that French is just full of Latin. Here you’ll find the verb subvenire which autocorrect will automatically split into sub + venire for you, as I’ve just noticed. These two in turn are under or upwards (sub) and to come (venire).
From that you get two similar but slightly different meanings: support or assist in the sense of coming to someone’s aid; hence, the meaning of memory aid. Or in the more literal sense of coming up; thus, from the depth of your mind up to the surface.
There is a similarity with tip of the tongue there… where the word is on the tip of your tongue but just won’t come out. So subvenire is the act of:
going down into the depths of your memory and retrieve (bring to the surface) some information and a noun that helps you to achieve that would be considered a memory aid.
If you take the original Latin back into English, you end up with the verb to subvene (which I’ve mentioned at the very top) or the noun subvent (support or assist by the payment of a subvention). Now, autocorrect is highlighting subvene, so probably in the 1,600 SAT category then; but intervene (it’s more common cousin) works the same…
If you intervene, you come between something in order to stop it. “Inter” is Latin for between. So when you subvene, you come under something to support it.
I think this makes more sense than simply saying ‘souvenir’ means ‘memory’… that’s like me saying, bra means good in Swedish because it keeps them from falling into the soup. After all, you’re talking about one possible French translation.