rel·​ic | \ ˈre-lik How to pronounce relic (audio) \

Definition of relic

1a : an object esteemed and venerated because of association with a saint or martyr
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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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 That’s not to say that gaming laptops aren’t important in our new and ruined world, but one this ostentatious somehow feels like a relic of a bygone age. Jess Grey, Wired, "Asus’ New Gaming Laptop Has Two Screens. We’re Not Sure Why," 5 May 2020 The 9-to-5 workday, or any semblance of it, seems like a relic of a bygone era. Author: Michelle Davis, Jeff Green, Anchorage Daily News, "Three hours longer, the pandemic workday has obliterated work-life balance," 26 Apr. 2020 Beneath her, energetically sketched in a washy palette of ocher and green, lies the harbor of Palermo, and in the background is Monte Pellegrino, the hill where her relics were found. Jason Farago, New York Times, "The Saint Who Stopped an Epidemic Is on Lockdown at the Met," 26 Mar. 2020 In hindsight, this was an attempt to transfer coolness from two DJs to a depreciating old media relic. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The Top 100 Moments of the EDM Decade," 17 Dec. 2019 Sample Greek specialties at the Athens Central Market, and then continue to the National Archaeological Museum, home to more than 11,000 relics of Greek antiquity, including ornate sculptures, pottery, and jewelry. National Geographic, "Italy and Greece Middle School Expedition," 10 Sep. 2019 These are her fragments of evidence, her relics of the distant past: alive and malleable, able to reveal the story of life. Quanta Magazine, "Biologists Invoke the Past in Modern Bacteria," 18 June 2015 Violence, in Spencer’s view, was on its way to becoming a relic of the past. Dan Falk, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Complicated Legacy of Herbert Spencer, the Man Who Coined ‘Survival of the Fittest’," 29 Apr. 2020 The midcentury drills look quaint in hindsight, a relic of a black-and-white era safely behind us. Michael O’donnell, WSJ, "‘Dorothy Day’ Review: Saint, Sinner, Troublemaker," 17 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for relic

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Relic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for relic


How to pronounce relic (audio)

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 How to pronounce relic (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on relic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for relic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with relic

Spanish Central: Translation of relic

Nglish: Translation of relic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of relic for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about relic

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