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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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

Some may argue that international schools are a relic of colonialism. Maysoon Khan,, "How the world beckons an accomplished principal," 17 July 2019 With the advancement of techniques to scientifically evaluate and study archaeological relics, today scientists prefer things be left in place. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Best to notify experts of archaeological finds," 22 June 2019 On-the-spot adjudication is a relic from the days when examiners with expertise were stationed at ports of entry, a USCIS representative said in a statement. Lily Jamali, The Seattle Times, "Canadian executives transferring to U.S. losing visa perk at Blaine crossing," 24 July 2018 The days of blocking out hours of time to visit the BMV could soon be a relic of the past. Jackie Borchardt,, "Hate waiting in line at the Ohio BMV? There's an app for that.," 17 June 2019 Because in American theology these machines are holy relics, icons in undiluted sense of having a magical presence. Dan Neil, WSJ, "100 Years of John Deere: How Its Waterloo Boy Tractor Changed America," 7 Sep. 2018 Along with gasoline and human drivers, car sickness could also one day be a relic of the past. Alyssa Newcomb /, NBC News, "The CES crystal ball gives glimpse of our high tech future," 11 Jan. 2018 The Garfield phone may seem ridiculous now—a relic of a time when novelty landline devices and Monday-hating fat felines held sway over the American psyche. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "A 35-Year-Old Garfield Novelty Telephone Mystery Has Been Solved," 29 Mar. 2019 These audience caps are relics of the analog age when people relied on local broadcast stations for news. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Ajit Pai and Sinclair," 18 July 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



Statistics for relic

Last Updated

21 Jul 2019

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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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with relic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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

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).


to complain fretfully

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