Residual describes what remains after most of something is gone. It’s an almost formal word for what’s leftover. If you’ve gotten over your breakup but you still have the urge to kick your ex, then you have some residual bitterness.

Residual comes from the Old French root word residu, which means "a remainder." That's why residual can be something that is left behind, like the residual grime on your kitchen counter from wiping it with a dirty sponge or residual feelings of guilt that remain after you dumped your girlfriend because you were rude. A residual is also a payment to a performer, writer, or director of a television show every time the commercial airs; it’s a kind of royalty.

Definitions of residual
  1. adjective
    relating to or indicating a remainder
    residual quantity”
    synonyms: residuary
  2. noun
    something left after other parts have been taken away
    synonyms: balance, remainder, residue, residuum, rest
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    dregs, leftover, remnant
    a small part or portion that remains after the main part no longer exists
    type of:
    component, component part, constituent, moiety, part, portion
    something determined in relation to something that includes it
  3. noun
    (often plural) a payment that is made to a performer or writer or director of a television show or commercial that is paid for every repeat showing
    “he could retire on his residuals
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a sum of money paid or a claim discharged
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