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

There could be debris in the road as well as cracks in the surface., "Earthquake preparedness: What to do - wherever you are - when the earth starts shaking," 12 July 2019 The modification edits a $70 million dredging project that removed nearly 2 million cubic yards of debris from the West Fork San Jacinto River around Kingwood. Kaila Contreras, Houston Chronicle, "FEMA, Army Corp will begin dredging Kingwood mouthbar in July," 28 June 2019 Flying debris from the wreck scraped the right leg of another pedestrian, an 8-year-old girl from north suburban Waukegan who was treated on the scene by paramedics. Rosemary Sobol,, "Vehicle involved in fatal hit-and-run near Buckingham Fountain had been pursued by Chicago police," 27 June 2019 Goggles protect the eyes from chemicals, dust or flying debris. Beth Wood, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Protect your eyes for life with healthy diet, sun shielding," 24 June 2019 There was debris everywhere and the truck was on fire. Michael Casey, Anchorage Daily News, "Pickup driver charged with 7 homicides in New Hampshire collision with motorcycles," 24 June 2019 That number includes only those directly killed by the hurricane, from flying debris and the like. The Economist, "Eight months after Hurricane Maria, the human toll is still unclear," 31 May 2018 Vehicles in the parking lot caught fire and were damaged by flying debris. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Auto parts plant blast: Fire suppression, magnesium acted like a bomb," 21 May 2018 An IndyCar driver hasn’t been diagnosed with a concussion since James Hinchcliffe was knocked unconscious by a piece of flying debris during the inaugural IndyCar Grand Prix (2014). Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar reveals relationship with company on cutting edge of concussion diagnosis," 17 May 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

21 Jul 2019

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 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

Comments on debris

What made you want to look up debris? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

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