Definition of remnant in English:



  • 1A part or quantity that is left after the greater part has been used, removed, or destroyed.

    ‘the bogs are an endangered remnant of a primeval landscape’
    • ‘Bottomland hardwood forests and remnants of swamp forests can be found near the flood control reservoirs.’
    • ‘There has also been a concerted effort to preserve the remnants of the World Trade Centre.’
    • ‘To one side, the tattered remnants of spacesuits collected dust on old shelves.’
    • ‘We will find them and we will defeat these remnants of the former regime.’
    • ‘Now scientists have plans to save its remnants from the rising tide of development.’
    • ‘It happened in front of the Western Wall, the last remnant of the Second Temple.’
    • ‘A remnant of the old army is supporting and perhaps leading the current chaos.’
    • ‘Now, less than one percent remains as fragmented remnants scattered across 75,000 hectares.’
    • ‘Last night, the remnants of the terrorist army were fleeing under heavy American bombing.’
    • ‘Less than one percent remains in scattered rainforest remnants.’
    • ‘I will not let him destroy the last remnants of our family.’
    • ‘Nearby is the Bosco di Mesola, the only remnant of the woodland which once covered most of the delta area: here Italy's last surviving native population of red deer took refuge, protected by the malarial swamps all around.’
    • ‘Water dripped from the ceiling, and in one corner we found burnt remnants of clothing.’
    • ‘The remnants of the French armies were able to retreat to the frontier but Spain was lost.’
    • ‘Jewish people who are aware of this history know that if they lose control over Jerusalem, they will inevitably lose access to the only remnant of their Holy Temple.’
    • ‘Nine hundred years later, the remnant of their empire is a small, weary nation, divided between two countries, with a bad reputation due west, and a genetic legacy like no other, stretching from the Pacific to the Caspian Sea.’
    • ‘The discovery suggests that many other fossil bones may contain well-preserved remnants of bone marrow, the scientists say.’
    • ‘The coalfield represents an erosional remnant of the South Wales coal basin preserved within the Variscan fold belt.’
    • ‘She wiped away the last remnants of her tears.’
    • ‘The insurgents represent the remnants of a regime of torture and repression.’
    remains, remainder, leftovers, leavings, residue, rest
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    1. 1.1A piece of cloth left when the greater part has been used or sold.
      ‘he sat sewing patchwork cushions with all the remnants’
      • ‘Willie made me beautiful dresses, even if she used leftover pieces and remnants.’
      • ‘Check your fabric stash, or purchase remnants that can be cut and used for patches.’
      • ‘Instead, I'll probably just cut a hunk of carpet remnant to fit the small area of exposed bed.’
      • ‘She lost her balance and fell headfirst onto a 1-cm thick piece of plush carpet remnant covering the concrete floor.’
      • ‘Other quick-change options include crocheted doilies, printed tea towels, monogrammed napkins, or hemmed fabric remnants.’
      • ‘You can even make your own by using two foot high section of a four by four, two foot by two foot piece of heavy plywood and a carpet remnant.’
      • ‘Add some batting, wadding or any padding that you can find then cover this with a fabric remnant before hot gluing cones, fruits or any other harvest decorations and a large bow to the wreath.’
      • ‘A species of knitted golem stretched out on the floor, it extracts sense memories of his childhood home from the Urals folk custom of making carpets out of fabric remnants.’
      • ‘The warehouse is a treasure trove of inexpensive art supplies, including fabric remnants, wallpaper samples, tiles, and picture frames.’
      • ‘Since dealers tend to sell remnants at a discount, it's well worth the extra effort.’
      • ‘To complete the holiday look use fabric remnants to make holiday table runners or simply wrap your table in holiday paper.’
      • ‘If you're using corduroy remnants, cut the strips across the fabric grain with the cords running perpendicular to the strip length.’
      scrap, piece, bit, fragment, shred, offcut, oddment
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    2. 1.2A surviving trace.
      ‘a remnant of the past’
      • ‘Some small remnant of the fever must have clung to her, for she tossed and turned for hours before giving in to a light and unrefreshing sleep.’
      • ‘Scattered remnants of the hawkers' presence littered the darkened scene.’
      • ‘Nothing is as it once was, and the survivors cling to remnants from their past.’
      • ‘The giant global corporations of today are but an unfortunate remnant of this past era.’
      • ‘Margaret's was the last royal birth which needed to be witnessed by a government minister, a remnant of the days when changelings were smuggled in on warming pans.’
      • ‘For folklorists generally, folk beliefs and practices were regarded as the fragmentary and often obscure remnants of older systems.’
      • ‘Outside of this relatively unchanged remnant of the old way of life, Algerian cities are a mix of Western influence and Arabic tradition.’
      • ‘Everywhere he looked twisted beams loomed up out of the sand like monoliths, the only remnant of a destroyed civilization.’
      • ‘I stared frantically up into his face, searching his eyes for any remnant of normality.’
      • ‘With so many remnants of colonial policies surviving in India, what could have been just a curious insight thus becomes sadly relevant.’
      • ‘As much as the concept of community had developed, humans still had a capacity for wanting the best for themselves, the remnant of survival instincts.’
      • ‘This U.S. military support, a remnant of America's Cold War containment policy, prevents China from using force to end the impasse.’
      • ‘They are working fast to stop an industrial estate from destroying remnants of the war.’
      • ‘Wolves do not need orders, some remnant of her tribal pride growled.’
      • ‘Now whether it's a vestigial remnant of a day past is something that I question very much.’
      • ‘The last remnant of outside light was now fading into the driving wind and snow.’
      • ‘Above the violence and social injustice rises a battle to survive and maintain a remnant of integrity.’
      • ‘She had come to forget that she had it most of the time, just another remnant of the childhood she couldn't remember.’
      • ‘As a textually bound remnant of the past, he is already determined, ‘enslaved’ in Browning's metaphor, by the documentary record into which he has been interpolated.’
      • ‘One of the men was the perfect Westernised gentleman: a suit, a hat and a walking stick by his side - a remnant of the Raj.’
  • 2Christian Theology
    A small minority of people who will remain faithful to God and so be saved (in allusion to biblical prophecies concerning Israel)

    ‘if any one ceases to be a witness, he ceases to be one of the remnant’
    • ‘The concept of a remnant emerges - a faithful minority whose response to God is sincere and who thereby single themselves out as the bearers of a unique commission to the rest of the nation.’


  • [attributive] Remaining.

    ‘remnant strands of hair’
    • ‘The English aristocrat recognised the historical importance of remnant business houses and early pearling masters' homes, and set about restoring some of Broome's architectural origins.’
    • ‘The new label permits the product's use in the European Union for the ablation of remnant thyroid tissue, a procedure that patients commonly undergo when being treated for thyroid cancer.’
    • ‘By 1900, only 1,000 to 2,000 animals remained, scattered in remnant populations.’
    • ‘There is still a major issue in terms of managing all of the remnant vegetation.’
    • ‘They also found remnant ingots from the 1951/52 salvage operation.’
    • ‘The first part of the track is a zigzag through remnant native forest.’
    • ‘Remnant patches were very similar in structure, tree composition, and mean diameter.’
    • ‘But the stories of this remnant student activism almost inevitably leave out an enormous upsurge in pro-Israel activities on these same campuses.’
    • ‘Conservation of remnant scrub vegetation is a matter of state and national concern.’
    • ‘Provision of geographic links between existing areas of remnant vegetation potentially facilitating gene flow and dispersal among populations of species that have become ecological islands due to clearing.’
    • ‘The maneuverability of Opportunity is a factor as well, because remnant boulders from the impact may litter the rim.’
    • ‘The ghost presence of the boiler hail can be inferred from the thickness of low remnant perimeter walls and the scarified twelve metre high wall to the turbine room, which is now the entry elevation.’
    • ‘However despite everyone's best efforts, all our forest and remnant vegetation was wiped out.’
    • ‘Here, we report on the genetic composition of red oaks in remnant old-growth forest in Indiana.’
    • ‘By the mid 1950s - 60s, the UK's once-thriving population had been reduced to remnant populations in the south west of England, East Anglia, parts of Wales and Scotland.’
    • ‘The other problem from which these remnant patches suffer, he says, are invasions by weeds and introduced plants from developed adjacent land.’
    • ‘For example agricultural land where the native vegetation has been largely cleared through broadscale clearing, and we're left with remnant patches or islands of native vegetation and biodiversity.’
    • ‘In low-income countries with small remnant forest areas, for instance the Ivory Coast, population growth appears to increase the rate of deforestation.’
    • ‘Keeping the sea on the left, the road passes through acres of paddy fields, interspersed with areca gardens and the odd patch of remnant rain forest.’
    • ‘The frogs occupy a 16-ha stand of remnant native forest on Maud Island.’


Middle English: contraction of obsolete remenant from Old French remenant, from remenoir, remanoir remain.