[ ve-stij-ee-uhl, -stij-uhl ]
See synonyms for vestigial on
  1. of, relating to, or of the nature of a vestige: a vestigial tail.

Origin of vestigial

1880–85; <Latin vestīgi(um) vestige + -al1

Other words from vestigial

  • ves·tig·i·al·ly, adverb

Words Nearby vestigial Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use vestigial in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for vestigial


/ (vɛˈstɪdʒɪəl) /

  1. of, relating to, or being a vestige

  2. (of certain organs or parts of organisms) having attained a simple structure and reduced size and function during the evolution of the species: the vestigial pelvic girdle of a snake

Derived forms of vestigial

  • vestigially, adverb

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

Scientific definitions for vestigial


[ vĕ-stĭjē-əl ]

  1. Relating to a body part that has become small and lost its use because of evolutionary change. Whales, for example, have small bones located in the muscles of their body walls that are vestigial bones of hips and hind limbs.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.