relict

[rel-ikt]
noun
1.
Ecology. a species or community living in an environment that has changed from that which is typical for it.
2.
a remnant or survivor.
3.
a widow.

Origin:
1525–35; < Medieval Latin relicta widow, noun use of feminine of Latin relictus, past participle of relinquere to relinquish

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World English Dictionary
relict (ˈrɛlɪkt)
 
n
1.  ecology
 a.  a group of animals or plants that exists as a remnant of a formerly widely distributed group in an environment different from that in which it originated
 b.  (as modifier): a relict fauna
2.  geology
 a.  a mountain, lake, glacier, etc, that is a remnant of a pre-existing formation after a destructive process has occurred
 b.  a mineral that remains unaltered after metamorphism of the rock in which it occurs
3.  an archaic word for widow
4.  an archaic word for relic
 
[C16: from Latin relictus left behind, from relinquere to relinquish]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

relict
"widow," c.1460, from M.L. relicta "widow," noun use of fem. of relictus "abandoned, left behind," prop. pp. of L. relinquere "to leave behind" (see relinquish).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

relict rel·ict (rěl'ĭkt, rĭ-lĭkt')
n.
Something that has survived; a remnant.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
Dark matter can be understood as the relict of light.
It's a relict of the earliest chapters of life, over three billion years ago.
The redox pattern is a relict feature and not considered indicative of present drainage conditions.
Relict features are commonly distinguished in the field by having sharp, distinct boundaries.
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