Definition of detritus
1 geology : loose material (such as rock fragments or organic particles) that results directly from disintegration
2a : a product of disintegration, destruction, or wearing away : debrisb : miscellaneous remnants : odds and ends still picking up detritus from the block party … sifting through the detritus of his childhood … — Michael Tomasky
detritalplay \-ˈtrī-təl\ adjective
Examples of detritus in a Sentence
the detritus of ancient civilizations
As he packed, he sifted through the detritus of a failed relationship.
Recent Examples of detritus from the Web
The measure was intended to reduce the detritus that development sends into waterways and promote the native plants that help filter stormwater runoff and pollutants into the ground.
The zippered bag would eventually get tossed with other Apollo detritus, work its way to the Cosmophere’s basement and then land in its former director’s garage.
The New Orleans artist makes his one-of-a-kind sculptures out of the detritus found at flea markets and thrift stores, such as flashlights and thermoses.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'detritus'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
How Do You Pronounce Detritus?
After the first hard freeze of fall, gardens are sadly littered with the detritus of the summer's plants and produce: stalks, leaves, vines, rotted vegetables, and maybe even a hand trowel left behind. As the flooding Mississippi River retreats back to its ordinary course, it leaves detritus behind in its wake, debris gathered from everywhere by the raging waters. The detritus of civilization may include junkyards and abandoned buildings; mental detritus may include all kinds of useless trivia. Notice how this word is pronounced; for some reason, people often try to accent the first syllable rather than the second.
Origin and Etymology of detritus
French détritus, from Latin detritus, past participle of deterere —see detriment
First Known Use: 1802
DETRITUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of detritus for English Language Learners
: the pieces that are left when something breaks, falls apart, is destroyed, etc.
Seen and Heard
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