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Is this an appropriate word to use? I did a quick google, and I'm only getting vague references.

Does the word 'Vestigialities' exist?

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"He discussed with them their struggles with the vestigialities of the past, their breaking marriages. Barbara, large and yellow-haired, grew alive with expectation too; she began to push at the world." [Malcolm Bradbury, The History Man, 2011, p54 books.google.com/… –  Kris Mar 14 '13 at 11:10
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closed as general reference by tchrist, simchona Mar 14 '13 at 18:00

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The term vestigiality is simply formed by placing the suffix -ity after the word vestigial.

vestigial

forming a very small remnant of something that was once much larger or more noticeable: he felt a vestigial flicker of anger from last night.

[Biology] (of an organ or part of the body) degenerate, rudimentary, or atrophied, having become functionless in the course of evolution: the vestigial wings of kiwis are entirely hidden.

It appears that vestigiality is not a count noun when it is used in a biological sense (as suggested by a Wikipedia article).

However, when it is used in the normal sense, as suggested by Kris, it is countable.

Provided by Kris:

"He discussed with them their struggles with the vestigialities of the past, their breaking marriages. Barbara, large and yellow-haired, grew alive with expectation too; she began to push at the world."

[Malcolm Bradbury, The History Man, 2011, p54]

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If you also check the Wikipedia article on count nouns, you will also realise that the above article doesn't suggest that vestigiality can have count-noun status (and thus doesn't address the question of whether or not the plural form vestigialities is acceptable). Kris supplies a corroborative quote (though an Ngram search argues for its vanishingly small occurrence). –  Edwin Ashworth Mar 14 '13 at 11:31
    
@EdwinAshworth Thanks for point that out. I didn't notice that it is actually a question about count noun. At first sight I saw it as a simple word problem. –  0arch Mar 14 '13 at 12:33
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