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Archive for August 31st, 2010

Mrs. Ruth, Relict of Rev Joseph Tracy

One of the terms I wasn’t familiar with when I first started visiting cemeteries was relict.

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According to a number of etymological dictionaries I have checked, relict comes from the Latin relinquere, which means to relinquish or leave behind. There were related nouns in Latin that meant left behind or abandoned – relictus and relicta (masculine and feminine). The term emerged according to these etymologies by the mid-15th century and was considered antiquated by the early 20th century. Some of these dictionaries state the term is gender neutral, but others specifically state that a relict is a widow, and that’s the only way I’ve seen it on tombstones thus far.

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