derelict

adjective
der·​e·​lict | \ ˈder-ə-ˌlikt How to pronounce derelict (audio) , ˈde-rə-\

Definition of derelict

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : abandoned especially by the owner or occupant derelict warehouses also : run-down a derelict neighborhood
2 : lacking a sense of duty : negligent derelict in his duty derelict landlords

derelict

noun

Definition of derelict (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : something voluntarily abandoned especially : a ship abandoned on the high seas
b geology : a tract of land left dry by receding water
2 : a destitute homeless social misfit : vagrant, bum

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Derelict Has Latin Roots

Adjective

The Latin verb relinquere left behind a few English derivatives. This word, itself meaning "to leave behind," is the root of our "derelict." Something derelict has been left behind, or at least appears that way. In another sense, someone derelict leaves behind or neglects his or her duties or obligations. Another descendent of "relinquere" is relinquish, meaning "to leave behind, "to give up," or "to release." "Relic" is another example of a word that ultimately comes from "relinquere." "Relics," in the original sense of the term, referred to things treasured for their association with a saint or martyr - that is, objects saints and martyrs had left behind.

Examples of derelict in a Sentence

Adjective

The officer was charged with being derelict in his duty. the guards were judged derelict in their duty

Noun

It was a run-down neighborhood filled with drugs addicts and derelicts. a section of the city that seemed to be frequented mostly by derelicts
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Starlink is a big game with seven rather large planets and dozens of quests, plus lots of things to do in space and planetside (scanning animals, exploring derelict ships, etc.). Daniel Starkey, Ars Technica, "Starlink: Battle for Atlas review: Cool toys, solid spacefaring," 16 Oct. 2018 Formerly overgrown derelict government railway land, the garden is a labor of love created over 20 years by Wendy. Sophie Davies, Condé Nast Traveler, "16 Best Parks in Sydney," 20 Mar. 2018 Neighbors in Airport Heights found a welcome sight Thursday: An excavator in the driveway of a empty, derelict house that had been attracting squatters and other problems. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "An abandoned home is sold. An Anchorage neighborhood rejoices.," 29 June 2018 Windows were broken in the house, the kitchen ceiling was collapsing and outside, several pieces of derelict farm equipment sat rusting. John Maccormack, San Antonio Express-News, "Old American colony in Mexico clings to its past," 18 May 2018 The property was so derelict auction attendees were asked to sign a waiver before entering. Jessica Mudditt, CNN, "Would you pay $1.1M for this derelict Sydney house?," 18 Apr. 2018 Dozens of new restaurants and shops are opening; residential construction projects break ground regularly; once-derelict high-rises downtown have filled up with a new generation of workers. John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, "Hudson's site project: Your questions answered," 18 Jan. 2018 And no president should be so derelict in duty of protecting our country, right? NBC News, "Meet the Press -February 18, 2018," 18 Feb. 2018 Law enforcement plays a pivotal role in enforcing the law, a duty the Marion Police Department has been decidedly derelict in upholding in this case. Kirsten West Savali, The Root, "Texas Woman Charged With Yelling Racist Slurs at Interracial Couple, Smashing Their Car Windows," 1 Feb. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Czapski and some 395 others were later removed to Gryazovets, the site of a derelict Orthodox monastery. Cynthia Haven, WSJ, "Book Review: Shouldering the Century’s Burden," 25 Jan. 2019 Each morning, Erol Baytas checks for further damage on the imposing but derelict timber building on an island off Istanbul that for decades housed orphans from the minority Greek community. Lefteris Pitarakis, Fox News, "AP PHOTOS: Istanbul's historic orphanage awaits salvation," 9 Sep. 2018 Congress is derelict because its members choose to be, so what can constitutionalist reformers do about it? Yuval Levin, WSJ, "‘Judicial Fortitude’ Review: Time for Congress to Do Its Job," 2 Jan. 2019 At the time, Galliano was criticized for taking inspiration from the homeless population in Paris and the Tramp Balls of the 1920s and 1930s which saw the wealthy elite in derelict cosplay at glamorous soirées. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Rita Ora Brings Back One of Fashion’s Most Iconic Prints," 14 Dec. 2018 Kelley was derelict in his duty in not firing Rob Porter in 2017. Jeff Darcy, cleveland.com, "'Infrastructure Week' & 'Porter Week' shams: Darcy cartoon," 14 Feb. 2018 In London, the housing crisis has spilled into the waterways, creating ghettos of derelict boats along the Thames. Dan Neil, WSJ, "The Low-Cost Way to Live Abroad: Buy a Boat," 30 Mar. 2018 The city began buying up nearly four dozen properties, including vacant lots and derelict buildings, through its redevelopment agency. New York Times, "After Years of Decline, a California Port City Sheds Its Past," 24 Apr. 2018 Where To Stay: Anda Andrei, who spent nearly 30 years as the chief of design for Ian Schrager, just transformed a derelict Salvation Army building into The Asbury, the first hotel to open in town in more than 50 years. Devin Alessio, ELLE Decor, "Weekend Getaway: Asbury Park, NJ," 31 July 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'derelict.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of derelict

Adjective

1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1670, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for derelict

Adjective and Noun

Latin derelictus, past participle of derelinquere to abandon, from de- + relinquere to leave — more at relinquish

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Statistics for derelict

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Time Traveler for derelict

The first known use of derelict was in 1649

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More Definitions for derelict

derelict

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of derelict

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal
: no longer cared for or used by anyone
US, formal : failing to do what should be done

derelict

noun

English Language Learners Definition of derelict (Entry 2 of 2)

formal + disapproving : a person who has no money, job, home, etc.

derelict

adjective
der·​e·​lict | \ ˈder-ə-ˌlikt How to pronounce derelict (audio) \

Kids Definition of derelict

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : abandoned by the owner or occupant
2 : in poor condition : run-down a derelict old building
3 : failing to do what should be done They were derelict in their duties.

derelict

noun

Kids Definition of derelict (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something abandoned (as a boat)

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More from Merriam-Webster on derelict

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with derelict

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for derelict

Spanish Central: Translation of derelict

Nglish: Translation of derelict for Spanish Speakers

Comments on derelict

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