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

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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

An 18-year-old standing with them suffered injuries to his back, possibly from debris, authorities said. Alejandro Serrano,, "At least two men shot in East Garfield Park," 3 July 2019 Wear a life jacket High water levels cause fast-flowing currents, deeper and colder water, unpredictable conditions and additional debris — especially in rivers. Anna Bauman, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan water levels are at record highs: Why it's so dangerous for boaters, swimmers," 2 July 2019 Another boater discovered a debris field in the creek, including a cooler, beer cans and a flotation device, Scarborough said. Christine Condon,, "Two bodies recovered from Stoney Creek on Monday," 1 July 2019 As of Monday, Golden Police Chief Bill Kilpatrick and Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Schrader are restricting water activities on Clear Creek because of swift-moving water and floating debris. Kirk Mitchell, The Denver Post, "Clear Creek tubing, swimming and body surfing banned as death toll on Colorado waterways continues to rise," 1 July 2019 Over time, that debris builds up and can cause the flow from your faucet to decrease in strength. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "Your Kitchen Faucet Aerator Is Probably Full of All Kinds of Gunk," 27 June 2019 The city also suspended its bulk pickup of non-brush items in July to prioritize storm debris. Hayat Norimine, Dallas News, "Weeks after storm, Dallas officials plow through tons of brush," 24 June 2019 Later Saturday, guides cut a pathway through the debris field and climbers continued up the route, said Calvin Sherstan, a longtime mountaineer who was making his fifth ascent of Mount Rainier. Evan Bush, The Seattle Times, "‘This would have been an unsurvivable event’: When a glacier crumbles on Mount Rainier," 12 July 2018 The long-haul jetliner, a Boeing 777-200ER, disintegrated in the sky, scattering bodies and debris over a large area of sunflower fields and three villages in rural eastern Ukraine. Andrew E. Kramer,, "Four to Face Murder Charges in Downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17," 19 June 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for debris

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for debris

The first known use of debris was in 1708

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More Definitions for debris



English Language Learners Definition of debris

: the pieces that are left after something has been destroyed
: things (such as broken pieces and old objects) that are lying where they fell or that have been left somewhere because they are not wanted


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

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More from Merriam-Webster on debris

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with debris

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for debris

Spanish Central: Translation of debris

Nglish: Translation of debris for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of debris for Arabic Speakers

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