Definition of relic in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrelik/


1An object surviving from an earlier time, especially one of historical or sentimental interest.
Example sentences
  • The saddle no longer looked like an interesting historical relic but an instrument of torture.
  • It's a city packed full of historical monuments and relics, of myths and legends, which seem to come to life every time you walk through its century old streets.
  • Models of historic buildings and cultural relics enable architects and archaeologists to study their subject in closer detail than might otherwise be possible.
artifact, historical object, ancient object, antiquity, antique
1.1A part of a deceased holy person’s body or belongings kept as an object of reverence.
Example sentences
  • The holy relic is believed to protect the 25 sq. km. former Portuguese colony, on the doorstep of China, from natural disasters.
  • Pilgrimages to the sites of miracles and holy relics grew ever more popular, and the number of such places increased.
  • The reverence shown for relics has roots in the celebration of the Eucharist over the graves of the first Christian martyrs.
remains, corpse, bones;
Medicine  cadaver
1.2An object, custom, or belief that has survived from an earlier time but is now outmoded: individualized computer programming and time-sharing would become expensive relics
More example sentences
  • In Scotland, however, the old code remained legal and came to be viewed simultaneously as a relic of outmoded ways of life and as a sign of modernity.
  • Coombs was a relic of an earlier, gentler time, when the privacy of public officials (even politicians) was normally regarded as sacrosanct.
  • Some historians indicated that the four western Kavango groups of today are most probably some of the oldest relics of the earliest inhabitants of central Africa.
1.3 (relics) All that is left of something: relics of a lost civilization
More example sentences
  • Rationally speaking, it is one of a small family of great universal museums, the huge monster museums which are relics of the imperial period of history.
  • Trees grow out of the windows and rotted roofs of stately old brick homes, relics of bygone opulence.
  • And today, the United Nations has declared cities that have preserved relics of that era as World Heritage Sites.


Middle English: from Old French relique (originally plural), from Latin reliquiae (see reliquiae).

Words that rhyme with relic

angelic, archangelic, evangelic, melic, melick, philatelic, psychedelic

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: rel·ic

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