Simple Definition of vestige
: the last small part that remains of something that existed before
: the smallest possible amount of something
Full Definition of vestige
1 a (1) : a trace, mark, or visible sign left by something (as an ancient city or a condition or practice) vanished or lost (2) : the smallest quantity or trace b : footprint 1
2 : a bodily part or organ that is small and degenerate or imperfectly developed in comparison to one more fully developed in an earlier stage of the individual, in a past generation, or in closely related forms
Examples of vestige in a sentence
<a few strange words carved on a tree were the only vestige of the lost colony of Roanoke>
<the fossilized vestige of a dinosaur that traversed that muddy landscape millions of years ago>
Did You Know?
Vestige is derived via Middle French from the Latin noun vestigium, meaning "footstep, footprint, or track." Like "trace" and "track," "vestige" can refer to a perceptible sign made by something that has now passed. Of the three words, "vestige" is the most likely to apply to a tangible reminder, such as a fragment or remnant of what is past and gone. "Trace," on the other hand, may suggest any line, mark, or discernible effect ("the snowfield is pockmarked with the traces of caribou"). "Track" implies a continuous line that can be followed ("the fossilized tracks of dinosaurs").
Origin of vestige
Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin vestigium footstep, footprint, track, vestige
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of vestige
VESTIGE Defined for Kids
Medical Definition of vestige
: a bodily part or organ that is small and degenerate or imperfectly developed in comparison to one more fully developed in an earlier stage of the individual, in a past generation, or in closely related forms
Seen and Heard
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