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 (rĕl′ĭkt, rĭ-lĭkt′)
1. Ecology A species that inhabits a much smaller geographic area than it did in the past, often because of environmental change.
2. Something that has survived; a remnant.
3. Law A widow or widower.
adj. Geology
Of or relating to something that has survived, as structures or minerals after destructive processes.

[From Middle English relicte, left undisturbed, from Latin relictus, past participle of relinquere, to leave behind; see relinquish. Sense 3, Middle English relicte, from Medieval Latin relicta, from feminine past participle of Latin relinquere.]


1. (Biology) 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. (Geological Science) 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 widow1
4. an archaic word for relic6
[C16: from Latin relictus left behind, from relinquere to relinquish]


(ˈrɛl ɪkt)

1. 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.
[1525–35; < Medieval Latin relicta widow, n. use of feminine of Latin relictus, past participle of relinquere to relinquish]


an animal or plant surviving in one area after becoming extinct else-where; a survival of an earlier period. — relict, adj.
See also: Animals
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.relict - an organism or species surviving as a remnant of an otherwise extinct flora or fauna in an environment much changed from that in which it originated
organism, being - a living thing that has (or can develop) the ability to act or function independently
2.relict - geological feature that is a remnant of a pre-existing formation after other parts have disappeared
geological formation, formation - (geology) the geological features of the earth


(archaic) [ˈrelɪkt] Nviuda f
References in periodicals archive ?
The smoketree is a rare endemic tree with a relictual distribution comprising three localized populations: (1) on the Ozark Plateau in Arkansas and Missouri with a few scattered stations in eastern Oklahoma, (2) from the southern Cumberland Plateau in northeastern Alabama and adjacent Tennessee and Georgia, and (3) on the Edward's Plateau of south-central Texas (Little 1977; Davis & Graves 2016).
In a context of rapid retraction, the persistence of relictual isolated populations is nonetheless possible.
Geomorfologicamente se trata de un poblado asentado sobre un promontorio relictual y naturalmente protegido del antiguo espolon sedimentario sucesivamente socavado por el rio Huichaira (donde otrora se construyo otro asentamiento prehispanico, el denominado Pucara de Huichaira) y los rios Grande y Huasamayo.
The stand of trees, disconnected from surface flows, becomes a relictual population unlikely to be replaced through natural processes.
Long-distance colonization, isolation by distance and historical demography in a relictual mexican pinyon pine (Pinus nelsonii Shaw) as revealed by paternally inherited genetic markers (CPSSRS).
Poblaciones de aves en un bosque relictual en el valle del Rio Cauca, cerca a Jamundi, Valle, Colombia.
The unique geological features of Gran Canaria, along with its climatic and geomorphological characteristics, have resulted in unique flora, including several exclusive genera, characterized by their age or relictual character.
La familia tiene un patron de distribucion Gondwana muy disperso y la presencia de la familia en Sur America probablemente representa una fauna relictual de pre-deriva (Holzenthal 1997; Dumas y Nessimian 2008).