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[rel-ikt] /ˈrɛl ɪkt/
Ecology. a species or community living in an environment that has changed from that which is typical for it.
a remnant or survivor.
a widow.
Origin of relict
1525-35; < Medieval Latin relicta widow, noun use of feminine of Latin relictus, past participle of relinquere to relinquish Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for relict
Historical Examples
  • His relict, with a glance at his portrait, shook her head and wiped her eyes.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • Edwin, promise me you'll never describe me as your 'relict.'

  • You forget, sir, that you are talking to the relict of the late Paul Winpennie.

  • How he must have loved this dear relict of his military predecessor!

  • It was as if someone had mentioned spaghetti to the relict of an Italian organ-grinder.

    Right Ho, Jeeves P. G. Wodehouse
  • And Judith his relict was a widow now three years and six months.

  • As often did the relict fly across the way to express her wonder to the Widow Stone, at the frequency of the rich man's visits.

    The Sea Lions James Fenimore Cooper
  • Mrs. Tibbs looked at the relict of the departed Bloss, and thought he must have had very little peace in his time.

    Sketches by Boz Charles Dickens
  • The relict and sole executrix of this noble-minded man was an odd mixture of shrewdness and simplicity, liberality and meanness.

    Sketches by Boz Charles Dickens
  • We regret that the relict of the late Captain Budd did not behave exactly as became a shipmaster's widow, under fire.

    Jack Tier or The Florida Reef James Fenimore Cooper
British Dictionary definitions for relict


  1. a group of animals or plants that exists as a remnant of a formerly widely distributed group in an environment different from that in which it originated
  2. (as modifier): a relict fauna
  1. a mountain, lake, glacier, etc, that is a remnant of a pre-existing formation after a destructive process has occurred
  2. a mineral that remains unaltered after metamorphism of the rock in which it occurs
an archaic word for widow (sense 1)
an archaic word for relic (sense 6)
Word Origin
C16: from Latin relictus left behind, from relinquere to relinquish
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for relict

"a widow," mid-15c., from Old French relict, fem. relicte "person or thing left behind" (especially a widow) and directly from Medieval Latin relicta "a widow," noun use of fem. of relictus "abandoned, left behind," past participle adjective from Latin relinquere "to leave behind" (see relinquish).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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relict in Medicine

relict rel·ict (rěl'ĭkt, rĭ-lĭkt')
Something that has survived; a remnant.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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