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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
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 11:10

1 Answer 1

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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). Commented Mar 14, 2013 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. Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 12:33

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