vestige

noun
ves·​tige | \ˈve-stij \

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

b : footprint sense 1

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

echo, ghost, relic, shadow, trace

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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

Then the sleeves, skirts, and pant legs push in another direction: These are vestiges of people. Cate Mcquaid, BostonGlobe.com, "At the ICA, Kevin Beasley alchemizes dark histories," 23 May 2018 The only vestige of the Hollis Benton Gallery can be found in the 1984 comedy Beverly Hills Cop. Andrea Alonso, Los Angeles Magazine, "Fact and Fiction Collide Inside an Exhibit Inspired by a “Forgotten” L.A. Legend—and Beverly Hills Cop," 12 June 2018 Santo Cielo, despite its slangy name, is a fine-dining restaurant whose globally inspired menu contains only vestiges of the cuisine that made the brothers successful. Phil Vettel, chicagotribune.com, "Review: Sky's the limit with ambitious Santo Cielo," 18 May 2018 Illinois' 3rd Congressional District, which Lipinski inherited from his power-broker father, is a vestige of old-school Democratic politics, composed largely of Catholics of Irish and Polish descent, as well as a growing number of Hispanics. NBC News, "Final battle time for the Democratic civil war in Chicago's suburbs," 18 Mar. 2018 Voter trends suggest Republicans may struggle to hold onto their last vestiges of power in the Golden State. Moni Basu, CNN, "Blue state, red valley: In this part of California, a new generation is more woke than ever," 1 June 2018 But at least one vestige of Pruitt’s rocky tenure will continue for the foreseeable future: some of the more than a dozen inquiries into his spending and management practices. Juliet Eilperin And Brady Dennis, Washington Post, "Pruitt is out at EPA, but ethics probes might live on," 9 July 2018 To me, this is a vestige of slavery when black bodies were bought, sold and traded like perishable goods. SFChronicle.com, "We should think deeply about the Alison Ettel viral video — and why it matters," 28 June 2018 Christianizing Native children was considered akin to Americanizing them, the goal being to root out every last vestige of Native identity. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Who Would Jesus Lock Up?," 15 June 2018

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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Statistics for vestige

Last Updated

4 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vestige

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

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More Definitions for vestige

vestige

noun

English Language Learners Definition of vestige

: the last small part that remains of something that existed before

: the smallest possible amount of something

vestige

noun
ves·​tige | \ˈve-stij \

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 \

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on vestige

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vestige

Spanish Central: Translation of vestige

Nglish: Translation of vestige for Spanish Speakers

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