Definition of remnant in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈremnənt/


1A small remaining quantity of something.
Example sentences
  • It happened in front of the Western Wall, the last remnant of the Second Temple.
  • Nine hundred years later, the remnant of their empire is a small, weary nation, divided between two countries, with a bad reputation due west, and a genetic legacy like no other, stretching from the Pacific to the Caspian Sea.
  • Nearby is the Bosco di Mesola, the only remnant of the woodland which once covered most of the delta area: here Italy's last surviving native population of red deer took refuge, protected by the malarial swamps all around.
remains, remainder, leftovers, residue, rest
technical residuum
1.1A piece of cloth or carpeting left when the greater part has been used or sold.
Example sentences
  • Since dealers tend to sell remnants at a discount, it's well worth the extra effort.
  • She lost her balance and fell headfirst onto a 1-cm thick piece of plush carpet remnant covering the concrete floor.
  • The warehouse is a treasure trove of inexpensive art supplies, including fabric remnants, wallpaper samples, tiles, and picture frames.
scrap, piece, bit, fragment, shred, offcut, oddment
1.2A surviving trace: a remnant of the past
More example sentences
  • Above the violence and social injustice rises a battle to survive and maintain a remnant of integrity.
  • As much as the concept of community had developed, humans still had a capacity for wanting the best for themselves, the remnant of survival instincts.
  • As a textually bound remnant of the past, he is already determined, ‘enslaved’ in Browning's metaphor, by the documentary record into which he has been interpolated.
1.3 Christian Theology A small minority of people who will remain faithful to God and so be saved (in allusion to biblical prophecies concerning Israel).
Example sentences
  • The concept of a remnant emerges - a faithful minority whose response to God is sincere and who thereby single themselves out as the bearers of a unique commission to the rest of the nation.


Remaining: remnant strands of hair
More example sentences
  • By the mid 1950s - 60s, the UK's once-thriving population had been reduced to remnant populations in the south west of England, East Anglia, parts of Wales and Scotland.
  • Provision of geographic links between existing areas of remnant vegetation potentially facilitating gene flow and dispersal among populations of species that have become ecological islands due to clearing.
  • The English aristocrat recognised the historical importance of remnant business houses and early pearling masters' homes, and set about restoring some of Broome's architectural origins.


Middle English: contraction of obsolete remenant, from Old French, from remenoir, remanoir 'remain'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: rem·nant

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.