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 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
vestige was our Word of the Day on 08/12/2016. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
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 of vestige from the Web
The last vestige of the amusement park, the carousel disappeared in 2012, during the latest remodel.
But the divisions in the G20 run far deeper than frustration with Trump: The body itself is a vestige of a world that no long exists.
The skirmishes are the vestiges of an utterly devastating urban battle in Mosul’s Old City, where government forces and the terrorists struggled over every inch of turf.
IS’s vestiges, though, may anyway be one of the lesser problems facing Iraq.
An original holder for recipes, a vestige of the 1950s, also remains.
The squat white brick building with a red brick smokestack abutting Carroll Creek Park is believed to be the last vestige of what was once a burgeoning industry.
The Fat Ham The King of Prussia location of this Southern-style bar, the last vestige of chef Kevin Sbraga’s dining empire, has closed.
That there was still a vestige of adult supervision.
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.
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").
Origin and Etymology of vestige
Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin vestigium footstep, footprint, track, vestige
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
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
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up vestige? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).