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 11th Street route in Michigan City is the last vestige of that era. Tim Zorn, chicagotribune.com, "Bids for South Shore Line’s main Double Track project come in higher than expected," 5 May 2021 The site, between Pearl and Water Streets, occupies an entire, misshapen city block just inside the last architectural vestige of New York’s 18th and early 19th century mercantile waterfront. New York Times, "A Billion-Dollar Battle Over a Parking Lot at the Seaport," 27 Apr. 2021 Questions about the end of the queen’s reign will also fuel the debate over the long-term future of the monarchy, seen by many as a symbol of national unity but by others as an obsolete vestige of the nation’s feudal history. Danica Kirka, chicagotribune.com, "Queen enters ‘twilight’ of reign after farewell to Philip," 20 Apr. 2021 In some ways, Prince Philip, who was 99 years old, was a vestige of an earlier era that predated World War II, one in which the royal families of Europe intermarried. Stephen Fidler, WSJ, "In Mourning a Prince, Britain Remembers Heroic Days of World War II, Empire," 10 Apr. 2021 Another vestige of the Trump trade war fell over the weekend when the U.S. and EU agreed to suspend punitive levies on products like French wine, German pastries and Italian hard cheeses that got caught up in the Airbus-Boeing trade dispute. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Here’s what a $1.9 trillion stimulus deal cannot seem to buy: a stock market rebound," 8 Mar. 2021 For all its weakness, OPEC remains the most successful and infamous vestige of a moment where the world system could have been more equal. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Can OPEC Rescue the Planet?," 22 Mar. 2021 And the monarch commands this position not only within the British state, but across the British Commonwealth, that polite vestige of empire. Matt Seaton, The New York Review of Books, "The Great Disenchantment: Harry, Meghan & the Monarchy," 9 Mar. 2021 The vestige of this ceiling carries over even after it’s all done. Nate Sloan, Vulture, "In Adrian Younge’s Ambitious New Project, James Baldwin Meets Marvin Gaye," 16 Feb. 2021

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

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vestige.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vestige. Accessed 18 May. 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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