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.
What vestiges of liberty or property have they left?Burke.
Ridicule has followed the vestiges of Truth, but never usurped her place.Landor.
(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. -- 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.
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