[ der-uh-likt ]
See synonyms for derelict on
  1. left or deserted, as by the owner or guardian; abandoned: a derelict ship.

  2. neglectful of duty; delinquent; negligent.

  1. a person abandoned by society, especially a person without a permanent home and means of support; vagrant; bum.

  2. Nautical. a vessel abandoned in open water by its crew without any hope or intention of returning.

  1. personal property abandoned or thrown away by the owner.

  2. one guilty of neglect of duty.

  3. Law. land left dry by a change of the water line.

Origin of derelict

First recorded in 1640–50; from Latin dērelictus “forsaken” (past participle of dērelinquere ), equivalent to dē- “from, away from” + relictus, past participle of relinquere “to leave, abandon”; see de-, relinquish

Other words for derelict

Other words from derelict

  • der·e·lict·ly, adverb
  • der·e·lict·ness, noun
  • non·der·e·lict, adjective, noun

Words Nearby derelict Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use derelict in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for derelict


/ (ˈdɛrɪlɪkt) /

  1. deserted or abandoned, as by an owner, occupant, etc

  2. falling into ruins; neglected; dilapidated

  1. neglectful of duty or obligation; remiss

  1. a person abandoned or neglected by society; a social outcast or vagrant

  2. property deserted or abandoned by an owner, occupant, etc

  1. a vessel abandoned at sea

  2. a person who is neglectful of duty or obligation

Origin of derelict

C17: from Latin dērelictus forsaken, from dērelinquere to abandon, from de- + relinquere to leave

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