Definition of vestige
1a (1) : a trace, mark, or visible sign left by something (as an ancient city or a condition or practice) vanished or lost (2) : the smallest quantity or traceb : footprint 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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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
Did You Know?
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").
Origin and Etymology of vestige
Middle English, from Medieval French, from Latin vestigium footstep, footprint, track, vestige
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of vestige
VESTIGE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of vestige for English Language Learners
: the last small part that remains of something that existed before
: the smallest possible amount of something
VESTIGE Defined for Kids
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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