a. Deserted by an owner or keeper; abandoned: derelict railroad tracks.
b. Run-down; dilapidated: derelict buildings.
2. Neglectful of duty or obligation; remiss. See Synonyms at negligent.
1. A homeless or jobless person; a vagrant.
a. Abandoned property, especially a ship abandoned at sea.
b. Land left dry by a permanent recession of the water line.
[Latin dērelictus, past participle of dērelinquere, to abandon : dē-, de- + relinquere, to leave behind; see RELINQUISH.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.