de·​bris | \ də-ˈbrē How to pronounce debris (audio) , dā-ˈbrē, ˈdā-ˌbrē, British usually ˈde-(ˌ)brē \
plural debris\ də-​ˈbrēz How to pronounce debris (audio) , dā-​ˈbrēz , ˈdā-​ˌbrēz , British usually  ˈde-​(ˌ)brēz \

Definition of debris

1 : the remains of something broken down or destroyed digging through the storm's debris in search of survivors sifted through the debris of her broken marriage
2 geology : an accumulation of fragments of rock
3 : something discarded : rubbish picking up debris after the parade

Examples of debris in a Sentence

After the earthquake, rescuers began digging through the debris in search of survivors. Everything was covered by dust and debris.
Recent Examples on the Web Thirty people were rescued Saturday, seven of them injured, and the bodies of two people were found in the debris, said Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region. Washington Post, 8 May 2022 Shaun Mumedy said, though some cars also got stuck in debris. Jordan Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 5 May 2022 Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said a body had been found in the debris of the building late Thursday. WSJ, 30 Apr. 2022 The document also said a pistol was found nearby in the debris of the rollover. Rafael Carranza, The Arizona Republic, 29 Apr. 2022 In the garden there was a small terrace where weeds grew between the paving stones and the furniture was covered in debris from the overhanging trees and shrubs. New York Times, 19 Apr. 2022 Members of the Ukrainian military walk in the debris of ashopping center and surrounding buildings in Kharkiv that were hit by a Russian missile strike on Saturday. NBC News, 17 Apr. 2022 Ryan Mather’s body was buried in avalanche debris in Clark Creek, according to the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office. oregonlive, 9 Apr. 2022 In the debris of the Russian assault on Ukraine, there are stark historical lessons. Reuel Marc Gerecht, National Review, 31 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'debris.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of debris

1708, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for debris

French débris, from Middle French, from debriser to break to pieces, from Old French debrisier, from de- + brisier to break, of Celtic origin; akin to Old Irish brisid he breaks; perhaps akin to Latin fricare to rub — more at friction

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Debris.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for debris


de·​bris | \ də-ˈbrē How to pronounce debris (audio) \
plural debris\ -​ˈbrēz \

Kids Definition of debris

: the junk or pieces left from something broken down or destroyed


de·​bris | \ də-ˈbrē, dā-ˈ, ˈdā-ˌ, British usually ˈdeb-(ˌ)rē \
plural debris

Medical Definition of debris

: organic waste from dead or damaged tissue a wound obscured by blood and debrisEmergency Medicine

More from Merriam-Webster on debris

Nglish: Translation of debris for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of debris for Arabic Speakers


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