detritus

play
noun de·tri·tus \di-ˈtrī-təs\

Definition of detritus

plural

detritus

\-ˈtrī-təs, -ˈtrī-ˌtüs\
  1. 1 geology :  loose material (such as rock fragments or organic particles) that results directly from disintegration

  2. 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

detrital

play \-ˈtrī-təl\ adjective

Examples of detritus in a Sentence

  1. the detritus of ancient civilizations

  2. As he packed, he sifted through the detritus of a failed relationship.

Recent Examples of detritus from the Web

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

detritus

play
noun

Definition of detritus for English Language Learners

  • : the pieces that are left when something breaks, falls apart, is destroyed, etc.


Medical Dictionary

detritus

play
noun de·tri·tus \di-ˈtrīt-əs\

Medical Definition of detritus

plural

detritus

\-ˈtrīt-əs, -ˈtrī-ˌtüs\play play
  1. :  loose material resulting from disintegration (as of tissue)



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