de·​bris | \də-ˈbrē, dā-ˈ, ˈdā-ˌ, British usually ˈde-(ˌ)brē\
plural debris\-​ˈbrēz, -​ˌbrēz \

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

Cleaning up the oceans and recycling plastic debris is just one arm of Parley’s mission; the other is to replace plastic entirely with new materials. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Parley for the Oceans Founder Cyrill Gutsch Believes Fashion Can Lead the Way to a Healthier Planet," 29 Nov. 2018 Many roads in the area remained blocked by debris and electricity and communications were patchy. John Lyons, WSJ, "A Search for Survivors as Typhoon Mangkhut Cleanup Begins," 17 Sep. 2018 My only quibble is that the 6T’s earpiece — sitting at the top edge of the phone, pushed out of the ultra minimalist notch — tends to gather dust and debris a little too easily. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "OnePlus 6T review: revised formula, same results," 29 Oct. 2018 Emptying the leaves, dirt, and debris will decrease the risk of damage to your gutters. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "What You Need To Do To Your Home Before Winter Starts," 19 Sep. 2018 The Perseid meteor shower comes around every summer when Earth passes through the trail of dust and debris left in the orbit of the very large Comet Swift-Tuttle, which passes near Earth every 133 years on its journey around the sun. Sarah Lewin,, "The 2018 Perseid Meteor Shower Promises Spectacular Views This Week," 6 Aug. 2018 Last year’s cleanups drew more than 400 volunteers who removed more than 1,600 pounds of trash and debris. Joshua Emerson Smith,, "Hundreds turn out for post-Fourth of July beach cleanup — most volunteers but some working off holiday infractions," 6 July 2018 Using a hydrovac, GBI agents basically sucked out everything that was in Gebhardt’s well, filled with trash and debris dating back to the 1980s. Christian Boone, ajc, "5 things to know about Spalding County cold case murder trial," 23 June 2018 Under $75: Our favorite affordable bagless vacuum Spring and summer tend to generate a lot more dust and debris around the house. Samantha Gordon, USA TODAY, "Here are the 5 best Amazon deals right now," 12 June 2018

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

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \
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

Comments on debris

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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