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 In the middle of the challenge, Kyle gets his finger caught in a metal piece of debris but continues on. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "The Challenge: Total Madness recap: Where's Dee?," 18 June 2020 Today, there’s a perfect broom out there for cleaning every type of debris off of every surface, from cereal on kitchen floors to muddy puddles in a basement. Popular Science, "The best brooms for conquering any mess," 17 June 2020 The top section crashed backward in a hail of debris. Lee Roop |, al, "Huntsville’s controversial Confederate statue is a 1960′s replica," 12 June 2020 Microplastic particles could even be acting as condensation nuclei, bits of debris that attract water vapor to form a cloud. Matt Simon, Wired, "Plastic Rain Is the New Acid Rain," 11 June 2020 The wind is whipping, but marchers press on even with debris flying around. Adrienne Roberts, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit protest Day 13: Weather cuts march short," 10 June 2020 The downward force of the helicopter’s rotor blades snapped a small tree, with debris almost hitting several people. Eric Schmitt,, "Pentagon ordered National Guard helicopters’ aggressive response in D.C.," 6 June 2020 The woman in the video then walks over to a pile of debris at the curb in front of the store. Fox News, "New York City woman slams looters for wrecking small business: 'You needed money? Get a job!'," 3 June 2020 After the looting, volunteers turned out en masse to sweep the streets of debris in Phoenix, Minneapolis, and Atlanta. David Clark Scott, The Christian Science Monitor, "Monday Sunrise Briefing: Nationwide protests for accountability," 1 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for debris

Time Traveler

The first known use of debris was in 1708

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Statistics for debris

Last Updated

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Debris.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for debris


How to pronounce debris (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for debris

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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