Definition of vestige in English:



  • 1A trace or remnant of something that is disappearing or no longer exists.

    ‘the last vestiges of colonialism’
    • ‘The federal Office of Civil Rights had determined that vestiges of segregation still existed in Texas higher education.’
    • ‘Until then, it will remain associated with the vestiges of the prehistoric age, with the collective unconscious, which is subject to a peculiar and ever-increasing activation.’
    • ‘Crikey does this better than most, but potentially could do better by discarding any remaining vestiges of political correctness.’
    • ‘It took away the remaining vestiges of legal support for the closed shop which, while not rendering the closed shop unlawful, made it virtually impossible to operate.’
    • ‘Cut and bleeding, I finally managed to free myself from the thorn prison only to discover the last vestiges of sunlight disappearing over the horizon.’
    • ‘It also saw the disappearance of the last vestiges of the old journalism, with news and photographs displacing advertisements on the front pages of even the most conservative papers.’
    • ‘Why are our councillors seemingly content to sit back and watch the last remaining vestiges of ‘old Bradford’ destroyed?’
    • ‘The remaining vestiges of the Women's Army Corps were eliminated by Congress in 1978 so that women in the army could be more fully assimilated into the overall army structure.’
    • ‘He, on the other hand, was running away from the old janitor who (miracle of miracles) also happened to be psychic and must have some vestiges of talent left over from his high school track team.’
    • ‘Instead, they were moments that struck me as evidence that the vestiges of basic human civility could remain, despite the all-encompassing hedonism and mechanism.’
    • ‘Any remaining vestiges of Catholic influence are markers of tradition, not part of the religion.’
    • ‘People destroyed all remaining vestiges of humour.’
    • ‘Now I am left wondering what course of study I should undertake next in order to eradicate any remaining vestiges of personality.’
    • ‘So these people, they were the real deal, the last remaining vestiges of a formerly powerful republic.’
    • ‘But Chelsea knew full well where such an outburst had come from; a little nagging voice from the vestiges of childish memory had prodded her, and she'd fallen for it.’
    • ‘Now most buildings that retained vestiges of the colonial legacy in the city have had their design and designation changed.’
    • ‘I write with grave concern at what I understand to be extremely short-sighted and inappropriate proposals to change the very nature of one of the few remaining vestiges of Bolton's retail heritage.’
    • ‘Could this be a sign that we have lost the remaining vestiges of faith and hope in the triumph of the human spirit?’
    • ‘Marriage was a public ceremony, the only socially approved expression of sexual desire was within marriage, and married couples held a privileged position in law, some vestiges of which still remain.’
    • ‘I need to reconcile these two Yorkvilles, past and present, and either give up on the place altogether or cling to whatever vestiges of real culture or real history still exist.’
    remnant, remainder, fragment, relic, echo, indication, sign, trace, mark, print, imprint, impression, legacy, reminder, memento, souvenir, token, trophy
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    1. 1.1usually with negative The smallest amount.
      ‘he waited patiently, but without a vestige of sympathy’
      • ‘This group are filthy in their habits, without a vestige of discipline, and are cowards to a degree.’
      • ‘It was good to have somewhere to go where there appeared to be a vestige of sanity, and River never made him feel unwelcome.’
      • ‘One more twist is required to help this far-fetched plot attain a vestige of credibility.’
      • ‘For this flood, ministers have produced not a vestige of proof.’
      • ‘Like all myths, there is a vestige of truth in the caricature.’
      trace, scrap, touch, tinge, hint, suggestion, suspicion, soupçon, inkling, whisper, scintilla, whit, spark, glimmer, flicker, atom, speck, bit, ounce, drop, dash, jot, iota, shred, crumb, morsel, fragment, grain, spot, mite, modicum
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  • 2Biology
    A part or organ of an organism which has become reduced or functionless in the course of evolution.

    • ‘The ‘splint bones,’ far from being useless vestiges of evolution, play an important role in the horse's leg.’
    • ‘Such a statement implies that the appendix represents a vestige of an organ with a former greater existence in the evolutionary sense, rather than in an earlier stage of its development.’
    • ‘They receive these signals through a specialized organ in the nose, vestiges of which still exist in humans.’
    • ‘Sprouts were distinguished from primary stems by the trace of an inflorescence and by the difference in the age of the shoots, which could be determined by counting the number of bud scale vestiges.’
    • ‘Modern science see's this gland as an anomaly, a useless vestige from our ancestors with no known purpose.’


Late Middle English: from French, from Latin vestigium ‘footprint’.