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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for vestige

Synonyms

echo, ghost, relic, shadow, trace

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

But that online following is a vestige from last year’s campaign. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Clash of the Texans: Julián Castro's breakout leaves Beto O'Rourke to do some homework," 30 June 2019 More than a decade after it was pulled off the market, the last vestige of the McCoy Naval Annex in Orlando is once again for sale — this time attracting national interest. Caroline Glenn, orlandosentinel.com, "Vacant since the ’90s, last slice of the old Orlando Naval annex is for sale," 13 Aug. 2019 The vestiges of British rule and Irish nobles, forts and castles, dot the landscape, along with stone dolmens, built thousands of years ago, but for what purpose and how remains a mystery. New York Times, "Chasing Waves on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way," 12 Aug. 2019 The last vestige of any sort of differences is the women's mile now being added to 2020 in Tokyo, and the men's 800. Torrey Hart, SI.com, "Why Natalie Coughlin Is Returning in the New International Swimming League," 17 June 2019 These days, Josh Turner is one of the few remaining vestiges of a classic sound in mainstream country music. BostonGlobe.com, "The Ticket: What’s happening in the local arts world," 7 Aug. 2019 The State Legislature has since passed a law stating every child should attend the school closest to their home, which was seen as the death blow for the final vestiges of the state’s busing era. New York Times, "How Joe Biden Became the Democrats’ Anti-Busing Crusader," 15 July 2019 Tucked off a turn on Highway 101, down an unmarked fork in the road, the elusive gates of Hollister Ranch swung open to a 14,500-acre oasis — described by many as the last vestige of the old California coast. San Diego Union-Tribune, "A look behind the Hollister Ranch gates. Will the public ever access these exclusive beaches?," 12 Apr. 2019 One of the last vestiges of the star system, Tate didn't have control over her day-to-day schedule or her career's direction. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "Everything You Need To Know About Sharon Tate's Life — Not Death," 25 July 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vestige

Listen to Our Podcast about vestige

Statistics for vestige

Last Updated

9 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vestige

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on vestige

What made you want to look up vestige? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

concealment of treason or felony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!