vestige


From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Vestige \Ves"tige\, n. [F., from L. vestigium footprint, trace,
   sign; the last part (-stigium) is probably akin to E. sty, v.
   i. Cf. Investigate.]
   1. The mark of the foot left on the earth; a track or
      footstep; a trace; a sign; hence, a faint mark or visible
      sign left by something which is lost, or has perished, or
      is no longer present; remains; as, the vestiges of ancient
      magnificence in Palmyra; vestiges of former population.
      [1913 Webster]

            What vestiges of liberty or property have they left?
                                                  --Burke.
      [1913 Webster]

            Ridicule has followed the vestiges of Truth, but
            never usurped her place.              --Landor.
      [1913 Webster]

   2. (Biol.) A small, degenerate, or imperfectly developed part
      or organ which has been more fully developed in some past
      generation.
      [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

   Syn: Trace; mark; sign; token.

   Usage: Vestige, Trace. These words agree in marking some
          indications of the past, but differ to some extent in
          their use and application. Vestige is used chiefly in
          a figurative sense, for the remains of something long
          passed away; as, the vestiges of ancient times;
          vestiges of the creation. A trace is literally
          something drawn out in a line, and may be used in this
          its primary sense, or figuratively, to denote a sign
          or evidence left by something that has passed by, or
          ceased to exist. Vestige usually supposes some
          definite object of the past to be left behind; while a
          trace may be a mere indication that something has been
          present or is present; as, traces of former
          population; a trace of poison in a given substance.
          [1913 Webster]
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