vestige

noun
ves·​tige | \ ˈve-stij How to pronounce vestige (audio) \

Definition of vestige

1a(1) : a trace, mark, or visible sign left by something (such as an ancient city or a condition or practice) vanished or lost
(2) : the smallest quantity or trace
2 : a bodily part or organ that is small and degenerate or imperfectly developed in comparison to one more fully developed in an earlier stage of the individual, in a past generation, or in closely related forms

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Synonyms for vestige

Synonyms

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Choose the Right Synonym for vestige

trace, vestige, track mean a perceptible sign made by something that has passed. trace may suggest any line, mark, or discernible effect. the killer left no traces vestige applies to a tangible reminder such as a fragment or remnant of what is past and gone. boulders that are vestiges of the last ice age track implies a continuous line that can be followed. the fossilized tracks of dinosaurs

Vestige, Trace, and Track

Vestige is derived via Middle French from the Latin noun vestigium, meaning "footstep, footprint, or track." Like trace and track, vestige can refer to a perceptible sign made by something that has now passed. Of the three words, vestige is the most likely to apply to a tangible reminder, such as a fragment or remnant of what is past and gone. Trace, on the other hand, may suggest any line, mark, or discernible effect ("the snowfield is pockmarked with the traces of caribou"). Track implies a continuous line that can be followed ("the fossilized tracks of dinosaurs").

Examples of vestige in a Sentence

a few strange words carved on a tree were the only vestige of the lost colony of Roanoke the fossilized vestige of a dinosaur that traversed that muddy landscape millions of years ago
Recent Examples on the Web The idea of pursuing noble goals through persistent diplomatic give and take now seems like a vestige of a vanished era. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘The Human Factor’ Review: Daunting Diplomacy," 21 Jan. 2021 And while those fears have since softened, suspicions toward the Chinese linger, a mark of Russia’s famously xenophobic outlook on many non-Russian-speaking immigrants but also a vestige of its history with its southern neighbor. New York Times, "How Russia Wins the Climate Crisis," 16 Dec. 2020 And while those fears have since softened, suspicions toward the Chinese linger, a mark of Russia’s famously xenophobic outlook on many non-Russian-speaking immigrants but also a vestige of its history with its southern neighbor. Sergey Ponomarev, ProPublica, "The Big Thaw: How Russia Could Dominate a Warming World," 16 Dec. 2020 Mason’s concern clearly identifies this vestige of the absolute powers of the English monarchy as a potential threat to the new democracy. Scott Davidson, The Conversation, "Pardon me? An ethicist’s guide to what is proper when it comes to presidential pardons," 14 Dec. 2020 The litigation was one vestige of a long-shot effort to stop Congress from certifying Biden's Electoral College victory on Wednesday. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Judge tosses Gohmert election lawsuit against Pence," 1 Jan. 2021 His lyrical outlook was a vestige of the hippie idealism enshrined at the Woodstock festival, where Mountain played one of its earliest gigs in front of a crowd numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Washington Post, "Leslie West, guitarist who helped usher in heavy metal rock, dies at 75," 24 Dec. 2020 This premise is a vestige from the City Beautiful Movement of the 1890s, when the middle class believed that erecting European style Beaux Arts monuments would lift the spirits of poor tenement dwellers and somehow inspire them to be more virtuous. Anne Quito, Quartz, "Trump’s last gasp of authoritarianism tries to make US federal buildings classically “beautiful”," 24 Dec. 2020 The convention of a season of plays and musicals, presented on an administrative timeline, was already becoming a vestige of a bygone era even before the theaters closed. Los Angeles Times, "My dream for theater: Toss the old business model in the dumpster fire of 2020," 21 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vestige.' 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 vestige

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for vestige

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin vestigium footstep, footprint, track, vestige

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Time Traveler for vestige

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The first known use of vestige was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

13 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vestige.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vestige. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for vestige

vestige

noun

English Language Learners Definition of vestige

formal
: the last small part that remains of something that existed before
: the smallest possible amount of something

vestige

noun
ves·​tige | \ ˈve-stij How to pronounce vestige (audio) \

Kids Definition of vestige

: a tiny amount or visible sign of something lost or vanished : trace We stayed outside to enjoy the last vestiges of daylight.

vestige

noun
ves·​tige | \ ˈves-tij How to pronounce vestige (audio) \

Medical Definition of vestige

: a bodily part or organ that is small and degenerate or imperfectly developed in comparison to one more fully developed in an earlier stage of the individual, in a past generation, or in closely related forms

More from Merriam-Webster on vestige

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vestige

Nglish: Translation of vestige for Spanish Speakers

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