The more common word trace suggests a mark, sign, or other evidence of the former presence or action of something (trace of blood; traces of a fire). A vestige is such a trace remaining of something that existed in the past, often the very distant past (vestiges of a past era; the only remaining vestige). Trace has a broad range of use, but is most frequently used of a very small amount of substance scientifically detected and analyzed. Vestige is a more evocative word; it can suggest the remainder of something that we can’t otherwise experience or that will never exist again—except in this last vestige.
Both verbs refer to staying or remaining alive despite adverse conditions, circumstances, or events. Survive can suggest living on after something (survived the drought) or living or getting through something very difficult (survived by begging). Subsist is closer to the latter sense of survive. It refers to how a person or animal survives physically, particularly with respect to nutrition and often suggests obtaining the minimum food or nutrients necessary to live (subsist by hunting; subsisted on nuts and berries). Those who are said to subsist on a particular diet, usually eat only one or two types of food, which may be due to scarcity, poverty, or an unbalanced lifestyle (subsisted on a diet of coffee and donuts).
How do you know when someone is truly sorry? When they’re contrite. Sorry’s most common use is in an apology, where it acknowledges, and suggests regret for, something one has done to another. It can also simply describe this feeling of regret about an action (He was sorry to have forgotten her birthday). Contrite suggests a sincere feeling of remorse or, in Christian contexts, repentance. In religious texts, contrite is frequently applied to the heart or spirit. In general usage, it is commonly found paired with the verbs “to be,” “to look,” “to sound” and “to appear” or modifying nouns such as expression, statement, or tone, all of which gauge the credibility of an apology.