- a surviving memorial of something past.
- an object having interest by reason of its age or its association with the past: a museum of historic relics.
- a surviving trace of something: a custom that is a relic of paganism.
- remaining parts or fragments.
- the remains of a deceased person.
- something kept in remembrance; souvenir; memento.
- Ecclesiastical. (especially in the Roman Catholic and Greek churches) the body, a part of the body, or some personal memorial of a saint, martyr, or other sacred person, preserved as worthy of veneration.
- a once widespread linguistic form that survives in a limited area but is otherwise obsolete.
- something that has survived from the past, such as an object or custom
- something kept as a remembrance or treasured for its past associations; keepsake
- (usually plural) a remaining part or fragment
- RC Church Eastern Churches part of the body of a saint or something supposedly used by or associated with a saint, venerated as holy
- informal an old or old-fashioned person or thing
- (plural) archaic the remains of a dead person; corpse
- ecology a less common term for relict (def. 1)
early 13c., “body part or other object from a holy person,” from Old French relique (11c., plural reliques), from Late Latin reliquiæ (plural) “remains of a martyr,” in classical Latin “remains, remnants,” noun use of fem. plural of reliquus “remaining, that which remains,” related to relinquere (perfective reliqui) “to leave behind” (see relinquish). Sense of “remains, ruins” is from early 14c. Old English used reliquias, directly from Latin.