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[rem-nuh nt] /ˈrɛm nənt/
a remaining, usually small part, quantity, number, or the like.
a fragment or scrap.
a small, unsold or unused piece of cloth, lace, etc., as at the end of a bolt.
a trace; vestige:
remnants of former greatness.
remaining; leftover.
Origin of remnant
1300-50; Middle English remna(u)nt, contraction of remenant < Old French, present participle of remenoir to remain
Related forms
remnantal, adjective
1. remainder, residue, residuum, rest, remains. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for remnant
  • One odd remnant of the time that higher ed was cheap is the notion that college years represent an extended adolescence.
  • One possible remnant of that culture is the numerous stone tools in the cave where the skeleton was found.
  • remnant pine trees found there are now providing the seeds of recovery.
  • So since quasars didn't occur around the big bang, it's probably some remnant of the clouds.
  • If there was a remnant population of dinosaurs alive today, someone would have noticed by now.
  • But even these remnant populations still support fisheries and could, perhaps, flourish again.
  • Fermented anchovies are probably a remnant of that old tradition.
  • The fingers pressed against remnant wall sections between the great windows.
  • So much energy develops in such a little space that eventually the whole thing blows up, leaving no remnant behind.
  • The structures were not preserved bacteria or some other remnant.
British Dictionary definitions for remnant


(often pl) a part left over after use, processing, etc
a surviving trace or vestige, as of a former era: a remnant of imperialism
a piece of material from the end of a roll, sold at a lower price
remaining; left over
Word Origin
C14: from Old French remenant remaining, from remanoir to remain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for remnant

late 14c., contraction of remenant (c.1300), from Old French remanant "rest, remainder, surplus," noun use of present participle of remanoir "to remain" (see remain (v.)). Specific sense of "end of a piece of drapery, cloth, etc." is recorded from early 15c. An Old English word for "remnant" was endlaf.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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