Relick relic relict
Posted: 19 October 2007 07:06 PM   [ Ignore ]
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So, here’s me watching the Antique Roadshow (which I believe originated on the right side of the pond).  And there is this silver cup with the inscription on the lip “Relick of the Revolution.”

It was believed by the owner to be an artifact (that is a relic) of the US Revolution itself, but the appraiser said that it actually was a person—a Dr. James Martin, Surgeon—who had given it as a gift to his daughter and he was the relick in question and that the silver cup dated from about 1825.

I came across this word some years ago in Scottish graveyards and I have asked this question before in the group.  Can a person be a relic, relick, relict?

In the graveyard inscriptions in St. Andrews it was the denomination of the widow of the deceased.

So, a person (edit: even a man?) can be a relic?  I’m increasingly feeling just so in my advanced age.

[ Edited: 19 October 2007 07:25 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 19 October 2007 09:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I know the feeling!

A relic/relict could indeed be a man or woman. Here’s OED:

relict, n. = relic

2 c. The surviving partner of a person. Obs.

a1667 JER. TAYLOR Wks. (1835) II. 84 (Cent.), Though the relict of a man or woman have liberty to contract new relations, yet [etc.].

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Posted: 20 October 2007 03:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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That one amused us in school, Mrs Philp, the widowed head of the fifth year, was the relict of a member of the clergy of Salisbury Cathedral.

I didn’t realise this usage could also be spelled ‘relic’ though, that would have amused us even more!

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Posted: 20 October 2007 06:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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“It was believed by the owner to be an artifact (that is a relic)”

Seems that, although a relic can be a person but that a person cannot be an artifact/artefact, because the latter is a product of human art or workmanship?  Right?

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Posted: 20 October 2007 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I went to our library and looked this up in the paper edition of the OED.  There seems to be a meaning and use that is closer to that on the silver cup.  Just under aldi’s citation (at least in the paper version of the OED) is this:

3. a. pl. Remains, remnants, residue.  Also sing. a surviving part; a survivor.

1598 Barret Theor. Warres IV. i. 116 “Hee gathered together the relictes of the defeated armies.”

1654 R. Codrington tr. Iustine XXII. 319. “The carthaginians sent commanders to prosecute the relicts of the war.”

1630 B. Jonson, “the eldest daughter, Frances, .. is the sole relict of the family.”

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