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relict

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noun rel·ict \ˈre-likt\

Definition of relict

  1. 1 :  widow

  2. 2 :  a surviving species of an otherwise extinct group of organisms; also :  a remnant of a formerly widespread species that persists in an isolated area

  3. 3a :  a relief feature or rock remaining after other parts have disappearedb :  something left unchanged

relict was our Word of the Day on 03/10/2013. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

The oldest English sense of "relict" is extinct-or at least obsolete. In the 16th century, relict meant "an object esteemed and venerated because of association with a saint or martyr," but that meaning is now covered by "relic," a related word that can also refer to something left behind after decay or disappearance. "Relict" was also used to refer to a widow at one time, but now that sense is more or less limited to legal uses. It seems fitting that "relict" has outdated senses; after all, it derives ultimately from the Latin verb relinquere, meaning "to leave behind."

Origin and Etymology of relict

in sense 1, from Middle English relicte, from Late Latin relicta, from Latin, feminine of relictus, past participle of relinquere; in senses 2 & 3, from relict residual, adjective, from Latin relictus


First Known Use: 15th century


2

relict

adjective rel·ict

Definition of relict

  1. :  of, relating to, or being a relict relict populations

1587

First Known Use of relict

1587


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