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 February’s traditional signing period has become a relic, replaced by a December early signing period that saw the vast majority of FBS recruits sign binding national letters of intent. oregonlive, "Jayson Jones, 6-foot-6, 340-pound defensive tackle, flips from Alabama Crimson Tide to Oregon Ducks," 5 Feb. 2020 The glass wall behind his chair was festooned with pink doodles made by his 9-year-old daughter, and the room was cluttered with relics of his work, including a square blue robot, a drone, and a gaming computer with a high-powered graphics card. Annie Marie Musselman, Smithsonian, "Inventor Alex Kipman’s Grand Vision for How Holograms Will Change Our Lives," 19 Nov. 2019 In Turkey, where the earth teems with the relics of dozens of ancient civilisations—and where over the past couple of decades the economy has been powered by a construction frenzy—development regularly takes priority over heritage. The Economist, "Some building works threaten Turkish antiquities. Others save them," 14 Nov. 2019 By its 30-year anniversary in 2016, the unit had become a relic of the past. San Antonio Express-News, "HIV services in San Antonio," 24 Oct. 2019 Three booths, ornamented with relics from the festival’s 53-year history, will greet visitors walking onto the grounds. Faith E. Pinho,, "It takes a village: Laguna’s Sawdust Art Festival readies for opening," 25 June 2019 To be true to history, the rebels have to be involved with all their authentic relics of the era, including what has become known as the Confederate battle flag. Randy Blaser,, "Column: Instead of ending Civil War Days in Lake County, use it to tell the whole story," 13 June 2019 Lost world revealed by human, Neanderthal relics washed up on North Sea beaches Fifty thousand years ago, a rich territory named Doggerland stretched all the way from Great Britain to the Netherlands, under what is now the North Sea. Rodrigo Pérez Ortega, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: Doggerland’s ‘lost world,’ star-swallowing black holes, and engineering killer moths," 31 Jan. 2020 As Presley morphed into a bloated caricature of himself, Vegas declined with him, and residencies there became associated with relics running on the fumes of nostalgia. Hilary Hughes, Billboard, "Rat Pack to Fame Monster: The Rise, Fall and Lucrative Rebirth of the Las Vegas Residency," 28 Jan. 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

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Relic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 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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