The word remains can mean a dead body, so a detective might investigate to find out if some bones found in a lake are human or non-human remains.

You can also use remains to mean the part of something that's left behind after the rest has been used or thrown away. So the remains of your birthday cake might just be some crumbs and melted candles, and the remains of a building after an earthquake could consist of a crumbling foundation. In a murder mystery, though, remains are likely to be human bodies.

Definitions of remains
  1. noun
    the dead body of a human being
    synonyms: cadaver, clay, corpse, stiff
    see moresee less
    the remains of a dead body after cremation
    type of:
    body, dead body
    a natural object consisting of a dead animal or person
  2. noun
    any object that is left unused or still extant
    “I threw out the remains of my dinner”
    see moresee less
    show 8 types...
    hide 8 types...
    archeological remains
    a relic that has been excavated from the soil
    the remains (or an impression) of a plant or animal that existed in a past geological age and that has been excavated from the soil
    a fossilized cast or impression of algae of the order Fucales
    a conical calcareous fossil tapering to a point at one end and with a conical cavity at the other end containing (when unbroken) a small chambered phragmocone from the shell of any of numerous extinct cephalopods of the family Belemnitidae
    ammonite, ammonoid
    one of the coiled chambered fossil shells of extinct mollusks
    guide fossil, index fossil
    a fossil known to have lived in a particular geologic age that can be used to date the rock layer in which it is found
    a fossil that must be studied microscopically
    fossil trail of a worm
    type of:
    object, physical object
    a tangible and visible entity; an entity that can cast a shadow
Word Family