a remaining, usually small part, quantity, number, or the like.
a fragment or scrap.
a small, unsold or unused piece of cloth, lace, etc., as at the end of a bolt.
a trace; vestige: remnants of former greatness.


remaining; leftover.

Origin of remnant

1300–50; Middle English remna(u)nt, contraction of remenant < Old French, present participle of remenoir to remain
Related formsrem·nant·al, adjective

Synonyms for remnant

1. remainder, residue, residuum, rest, remains. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for remnant

Contemporary Examples of remnant

Historical Examples of remnant

  • All that is left of the Cheyenne Bundle is now with the remnant of the tribe in Oklahoma.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • When day broke they succeeded in wearing the ship with a remnant of the spritsail.

  • I said, holding up his wrist where the remnant of the cord was hanging.

  • We believe that, for many years, no remnant of it has existed in the United States.

    The Origin of Species

    Thomas H. Huxley

  • In the forests the loggers were tearing and slashing into all but the remnant of the 96 timber.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

British Dictionary definitions for remnant



(often plural) a part left over after use, processing, etc
a surviving trace or vestige, as of a former eraa remnant of imperialism
a piece of material from the end of a roll, sold at a lower price


remaining; left over

Word Origin for remnant

C14: from Old French remenant remaining, from remanoir to remain
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

Word Origin and History for remnant

late 14c., contraction of remenant (c.1300), from Old French remanant "rest, remainder, surplus," noun use of present participle of remanoir "to remain" (see remain (v.)). Specific sense of "end of a piece of drapery, cloth, etc." is recorded from early 15c. An Old English word for "remnant" was endlaf.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper