• synonyms


[ve-stij-ee-uh l, -stij-uh l]
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  1. of, relating to, or of the nature of a vestige: a vestigial tail.
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Origin of vestigial

1880–85; < Latin vestīgi(um) vestige + -al1
Related formsves·tig·i·al·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for vestigial

veiled, underlying, lurking, inherent, unrealized, smoldering, suppressed, simple, naive, rudimentary, underdeveloped, unsophisticated, undeveloped, elementary, primitive, embryonic, elemental, leftover, outstanding, surviving

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Contemporary Examples of vestigial

Historical Examples of vestigial

British Dictionary definitions for vestigial


  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 speciesthe vestigial pelvic girdle of a snake
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Derived Formsvestigially, 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

Word Origin and History for vestigial


1877, from vestige + -al (1).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

vestigial in Medicine


(vĕ-stĭjē-əl, -stĭjəl)
  1. Occurring or persisting as a rudimentary or degenerate structure.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

vestigial in Science


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