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Word of the Day : April 13, 2011

vestige

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noun VESS-tij

Definition

: a mark or visible sign left by something that existed before; also: a minute remaining amount

Examples

Viaducts, walls, and ancient baths remain as vestiges of the Roman occupation of Britain.

"Outside her home flies a large American flag, but inside there are vestiges of her native France, with paintings all round of the City of Lights and its grand boulevards and striking architecture." -- From an article in the Gloucester Daily Times (Massachusetts), March 3, 2011



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").

Word Family Quiz

What "vestigium" descendant means "to study by close examination and systematic inquiry"? The answer is ...


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