derelict

1 of 2

adjective

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

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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

Did you know?

Derelict Has Latin Roots

The Latin verb relinquere, meaning "to leave behind," left behind a few English derivatives, including derelict. Something derelict has been left behind, or at least appears that way. In another sense, someone who is derelict leaves behind or neglects their duties or obligations. Another descendant 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. Relinquere also gives English its name for the containers or shrines which hold relics, reliquary.

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
In the 1970s, the Santa Monica Pier had become practically derelict, an unsavory hangout barely hanging on. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, 5 June 2024 Then in 1981, this scarred slope that still wore the derelict remnants of its past was discovered by Don and Terry Robertson. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, 20 Apr. 2024
Noun
The Macomb Daily reported that Sterling Heights' city council last month voted to accept a $3 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to help with acquiring properties around the derelict mall in support of the redevelopment. Jc Reindl, Detroit Free Press, 1 May 2024 Certain neighborhoods seem a little more derelict, while others have been gentrified. Lina Mounzer, Condé Nast Traveler, 12 Apr. 2023 See all Example Sentences for derelict 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'derelict.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Noun

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

First Known Use

Adjective

1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1670, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of derelict was in 1649

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near derelict

Cite this Entry

“Derelict.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/derelict. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

derelict

1 of 2 adjective
der·​e·​lict ˈder-ə-ˌlikt How to pronounce derelict (audio)
1
: abandoned by the owner or occupant
a derelict ship
2
: negligent sense 2, neglectful
derelict in one's duty

derelict

2 of 2 noun
1
: something voluntarily abandoned
especially : a ship abandoned on the high seas
2
: a person without apparent means of support : bum

More from Merriam-Webster on derelict

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!