from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Ecology A species that inhabits a much smaller geographic area than it did in the past, often because of environmental change.
  • noun Something that has survived; a remnant.
  • noun Law A widow or widower.
  • adjective Of or relating to something that has survived, as structures or minerals after destructive processes.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who is left or who remains: a survivor.
  • noun Specifically, a widower or widow, especially a widow.
  • noun A thing left behind; a relic.
  • Left; remaining; surviving.
  • In phytogeography, persisting in a limited area only: said of an endemic plant which at an earlier period had a much wider range.
  • In physical geography, left as a result of erosion; residual: said of mountains the form of which is due to the erosion of neigh boring valleys, as mountains of circumdenudation, and especially isolated residual mountains or monadnocks.
  • To leave.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A woman whose husband is dead; a widow.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun formal Something which, or someone who, survives or remains or is left over after the loss of others; a relic.
  • adjective Surviving, remaining.
  • adjective That is a relict; pertaining to a relict.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an organism or species surviving as a remnant of an otherwise extinct flora or fauna in an environment much changed from that in which it originated
  • noun geological feature that is a remnant of a pre-existing formation after other parts have disappeared


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From Middle English relicte, left undisturbed, from Latin relictus, past participle of relinquere, to leave behind; see relinquish. Sense 3, Middle English relicte, from Medieval Latin relicta, from feminine past participle of Latin relinquere.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin relictus, past participle of relinquō ("I leave behind, abandon, relinquish"), from re- + linquō ("I leave, quit, forsake, depart from").


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  • Also a widow.

    December 4, 2007

  • Yes, Minerva, have just seen it on a memorial stone from the early 1800s as 'relict of this parish'. Presumably the definition above 'a living thing that has, or can develop,the ability to act or function after other parts have disappeared' covers this. !!!!

    February 3, 2008

  • So, is a widower derelict?

    February 3, 2008

  • I left them together, telling the steward's relict that I would join her again at the playhouse, as soon as I had sent my baggage to the Marquis de Marialva's, to whose residence she directed me.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 7 ch. 8

    October 1, 2008

  • Recently Lict?

    June 5, 2012

  • The West African giraffe is found in the further north where it has its last relict population.

    August 31, 2023