rel·ic | \ ˈre-lik \

Definition of relic 

1a : an object esteemed and venerated because of association with a saint or martyr

b : souvenir, memento

2 relics plural : remains, corpse

3 : a survivor or remnant left after decay, disintegration, or disappearance

4 : a trace of some past or outmoded practice, custom, or belief

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Synonyms for relic


echo, ghost, shadow, trace, vestige

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Examples of relic in a Sentence

a crude stone ax and other relics of the Neanderthals in my grandparents' attic are many “groovy” relics from the 1960s

Recent Examples on the Web

Alaro's Facebook page features several photos of Rubicon relics found while clearing out the building, including a box of old bottle caps and the original floor plan. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "Spanish-style brewery with tapas announces opening date in former Rubicon building," 7 June 2018 But Miles and Boles want those horror stories to become relics of a bygone era. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "The retired Marine who ‘has the toughest job’ at Indianapolis Motor Speedway," 24 May 2018 The oldest cruciform-style Orthodox church in North America, Holy Ascension holds over 200 icons, books and relics, some of which date to the 16th century. Author: Jim Paulin, Anchorage Daily News, "To help fund fire protection for iconic Unalaska church, congregation considers starting AirBnB on church grounds," 30 Apr. 2018 As many right-minded journalists agree, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is an embarrassing relic, a conflict-of-interest orgy where journalists who are meant to challenge the powerful hobnob with them instead. Benjamin Hart, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Thinks the White House Correspondents’ Dinner Should Be Killed Off," 30 Apr. 2018 As their forensic systems improved, signatures became a relic. Stacy Cowley,, "Credit card signatures are about to become extinct," 8 Apr. 2018 As more people store documents on a cloud and reduce their computer hardware to a laptop, big working surfaces have become the relics. Catherine Romano, WSJ, "The Vintage Desk That Perfectly Suits Modern Technology," 5 Apr. 2018 Wolf teeth are an evolutionary relic, and horses no longer use them for chewing; many horses don’t even develop them. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "3000-year-old sawn-off tooth may be the earliest evidence of horse dentistry," 2 July 2018 The northeast region of England is classic post-industrial Europe, a relic to mining and shipbuilding. Rodney Jefferson,, "The City That Defined Brexit Has Given Up," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'relic.' 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 relic

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for relic

Middle English relik, from Anglo-French relike, from Medieval Latin reliquia, from Late Latin reliquiae, plural, remains of a martyr, from Latin, remains, from relinquere to leave behind — more at relinquish

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Dictionary Entries near relic





relic area



Phrases Related to relic

relic of the past

Statistics for relic

Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for relic

The first known use of relic was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for relic



English Language Learners Definition of relic

: something that is from a past time, place, culture, etc.

: an object (such as a piece of clothing or the bone of a saint) that is considered holy


rel·ic | \ ˈre-lik \

Kids Definition of relic

1 : something left behind after decay or disappearance They uncovered relics of an ancient city.

2 : an object that is considered holy because of its connection with a saint or martyr

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Comments on relic

What made you want to look up relic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


alleviating pain or harshness

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