Definition of derelict in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈderəˌlikt/


1In a very poor condition as a result of disuse and neglect: the cities were derelict and dying
More example sentences
  • The derelict condition of the Market House has been criticised by the town council.
  • The majority of them were bought either in completely derelict condition, or as a collection of rusty parts.
  • A call has been made to officials of the Town Council to take action against the owners of five houses which are in a derelict condition.
dilapidated, ramshackle, run-down, tumbledown, in ruins, falling apart;
rickety, creaky, deteriorating, crumbling, disintegrating, decaying;
neglected, untended, gone to rack and ruin
disused, abandoned, deserted, discarded, rejected, neglected, untended
1.1chiefly North American (Of a person) shamefully negligent in not having done what one should have done: he was derelict in his duty to his country
More example sentences
  • Some held the two local commanders derelict in their duty; others concluded that they were simply guilty of errors of judgment.
  • What other cause finds you derelict in your responsibilities to your own people?
  • In my view he would be derelict in his duty if he didn't have a contingency plan.
negligent, neglectful, remiss, lax, careless, sloppy, slipshod, slack, irresponsible, delinquent


1A person without a home, job, or property: derelicts who could fit all their possessions in a paper bag
More example sentences
  • A group of vagabonds and derelicts inhabit a shelter in Moscow, presided over by a fanatical leader who preaches the love of everyone for everyone.
  • Following a homeless ‘state of emergency’, the federal government created a $753-million fund to get derelicts across Canada out of the dirt and into an edifice.
  • But the majority of menial workers and derelicts are, going by empirical evidence, first or second-generation immigrants with little in the way of hopes or prospects.
tramp, vagrant, vagabond, down and out, homeless person, drifter;
beggar, mendicant;
informal bag lady, hobo, bum
1.1A piece of property, especially a ship, abandoned by the owner and in poor condition.
Example sentences
  • We ran into the docking bay and could not believe the decrepit derelict of a ship that he had waiting for us.
  • If they can keep the boats from becoming derelicts, it means that much more money in the budget to do dredging and other debris removal.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard has the authority to move derelicts that pose a hazard to navigation, but not to dispose of them.


Mid 17th century: from Latin derelictus 'abandoned', past participle of derelinquere, from de- 'completely' + relinquere 'forsake'.

  • This is from Latin derelictus, the past participle of derelinquere ‘abandon’, from de- ‘completely’ and relinquere ‘forsake’, found also in relinquish (Late Middle English).

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Syllabification: der·e·lict

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