\ˈdräs, ˈdrȯs\

Definition of dross 

1 metallurgy : the scum or unwanted material that forms on the surface of molten metal

2 : waste or foreign matter : impurity

3 : something that is base (see base entry 3 sense 7), trivial, or inferior There is quite a lot of dross on TV these days. a talent for turning literary dross into gold

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Other Words from dross

drossy \ˈdrä-sē, ˈdrȯ- \ adjective

Did You Know?

Dross has been a part of the English language since Anglo-Saxon times; one 19th-century book on Old English vocabulary dates it back to 1050 A.D. Its Old English ancestors are related to Germanic and Scandinavian words for "dregs" (as in "the dregs of the coffee") - and, like "dregs," dross is a word for the less-than-desirable parts of something. Over the years, the relative worthlessness of dross has often been set in contrast to the value of gold, as for example in British poet Christina Rossetti's "The Lowest Room": "Besides, those days were golden days, / Whilst these are days of dross" (1875).

Examples of dross in a Sentence

There is quite a lot of dross on TV these days. His editor has a talent for turning literary dross into gold.

Recent Examples on the Web

Fans have been vocal about the club's playing style over the last few months, calling it 'dross', and have even taken to the internet to grade Big Sam's performance in a club survey. SI.com, "Big Sam's Future in Doubt as Talk of Marco Silva's Arrival Filters into Everton's Dressing Room," 10 May 2018 Perhaps an old-fashioned medium, especially when executed to perfection, provides an antidote to the unreflective dross of Facebook and Snapchat. Randall Balmer, Washington Post, "‘Love is the only way’: How a black preacher’s royal wedding address showed the power of a good sermon," 21 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dross.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of dross

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dross

Middle English dros, from Old English drōs dregs

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Time Traveler for dross

The first known use of dross was before the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of dross

: unwanted material that is removed from a mineral (such as gold) to make it better

: something of low value or quality

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Comments on dross

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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