Definition of detritus
1 geology : loose material (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.
Did You Know?
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 includes 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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