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

Synonyms for relic


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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 If newspapers-on-newsprint are in decline, then newspapers-delivered-by-kids-on-bikes seem like a relic of the even-more-distant past. Chris Klimek, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 July 2022 The wide-leg baby-blue pants feel like both a relic from early-’90s L.A. and an omen from the L.A. of the future. Los Angeles Times, 27 July 2022 In a city where the hottest new restaurants feature globe-trotting flavors, creative cocktails and menus that change with the seasons, the Washington location of Morton’s the Steakhouse feels like a relic. Tim Carman, Washington Post, 11 July 2022 If things go according to plan, this kind of regular-folks hangout will soon be a relic for Elyanna. Myung J. Chun, Los Angeles Times, 25 July 2022 Brand suspects the thieves began feeling the weight of having stolen a sacred relic. María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post, 21 July 2022 For now, though, the building remains boarded up, a relic of another time. oregonlive, 11 July 2022 But it’s a fascinating relic and a historic bridge between fact, lore and baseball. Hayes Gardner, Baltimore Sun, 5 July 2022 Outerwall also owned change-counting kiosk Coinstar, another retail relic. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, 23 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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relic area

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Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Relic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for relic


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

More from Merriam-Webster on relic

Nglish: Translation of relic for Spanish Speakers

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


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