Definition of vestigial in English:

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Pronunciation: /veˈstij(ē)əl/


1Forming a very small remnant of something that was once much larger or more noticeable: he felt a vestigial flicker of anger from last night
More example sentences
  • This kind of argument, although true, overlooks the underlying cause of this kind of behavior - the primitive, vestigial, human survival instinct for tribalism.
  • Perhaps this attitude stemmed from some vestigial Old World notions of hierarchy, division of labor, or even the unseemliness of the music that they produced.
  • By Monday night, though, in his 48-hour-warning speech, the references to international law and the United Nations had become vestigial.
remaining, surviving, residual, leftover, lingering
1.1 Biology (Of an organ or part of the body) degenerate, rudimentary, or atrophied, having become functionless in the course of evolution: the vestigial wings of kiwis are entirely hidden
More example sentences
  • The point is not that vestigial organs have no function whatsoever.
  • The belief that wisdom teeth are vestigial organs that lack a function in the body (as was previously believed for the appendix), is less common today but still evident.
  • It used to be maintained that there were almost 200 vestigial organs in the human body.
rudimentary, undeveloped;
Biology  primitive



Example sentences
  • Canada, Australia and New Zealand, he explained, have a culture still vestigially fascinated by the book.
  • This parallelism exists, vestigially, in the tradition of animal parables.
  • The absurdity is heightened by the arrangement of works in the gallery, which is vestigially museological, featuring vitrines, shelves and careful spatial separations within the gallery's clean white walls.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ves·tig·i·al

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