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


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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 Now even some of the largest and most enduring companies, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., which has more than 20,000 office employees in the city, have told their work forces that the five-day office workweek is a relic. Matthew Haag, New York Times, "Remote Work Is Here to Stay. Manhattan May Never Be the Same.," 29 Mar. 2021 President Joe Biden didn't commit to nixing the Senate filibuster rule despite agreeing with former President Barack Obama that the procedure was a relic of Jim Crow segregation laws. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Biden parrots Obama in calling Senate filibuster a 'relic of Jim Crow'," 25 Mar. 2021 Democratic Party folk hero and conspiracy theorist Stacey Abrams recently argued that the filibuster is a bigoted relic that should be abolished. David Harsanyi, National Review, "Sorry, Stacey Abrams, H.R. 1 Exemplifies the Need for the Filibuster," 22 Mar. 2021 And the typecasting of Barret is a misbegotten relic that should’ve been left in the past, even if Barret himself is still the game’s conscience. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s best games of 2020," 22 Dec. 2020 But the Séverine is no relic—the boxy cut is markedly modern and comfortable, making this button-down a compelling choice for today’s WFH lifestyle. Rebecca Malinsky, WSJ, "Did Catherine Deneuve Design the Ultimate Zoom Shirt?," 14 Dec. 2020 The relic of a jukebox hummed loudly before dropping another tune by Patsy Cline or Frank Sinatra. Ian Mcnulty,, "Changes ahead for Saturn Bar, beloved New Orleans bar cluttered with character," 20 Nov. 2020 This relic of summers past, when people were blissed out and makin' out. Natalie Morin,, "Timothée Chalamet Was Crushed Over Those Lily-Rose Depp Make-Out Photos," 15 Oct. 2020 What if the Grail were not a holy Christian relic but something entirely different, alien, with its own compelling and corrupting power? Vivian Shaw, Washington Post, "‘By Force Alone’ is an exciting and wickedly funny reimagining of the King Arthur legend," 21 Aug. 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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Statistics for relic

Last Updated

31 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Relic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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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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