dross

noun
\ ˈdräs How to pronounce dross (audio) , 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 1), 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 How to pronounce dross (audio) , ˈdrȯ-​ \ adjective

Did you know?

Dross has been a part of the English language since Anglo-Saxon times. It comes from the Old English word drōs, meaning "dregs," those solid materials that fall to the bottom of a container full of a liquid such as coffee or wine. While dross today is used to refer to anything of low value or quality, its earliest use is technical: dross is a metallurgy term referring to solid scum that forms on the surface of a metal when it is molten or melting—remove the dross to improve the metal. The metallurgical sense of the word is often hinted at in its general use, with dross set in contrast to gold, as when 19th century British poet Christina Rossetti wrote "Besides, those days were golden days, / Whilst these are days of dross."

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 To find something positive amidst much dross — Mamoudou Athie and Dina Shihabi make for able horror leads in this series. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 11 Jan. 2022 Many of the things left at the sorry corner are manifestly ugly or useless, yet it should not be assumed that this always represents the true dross, that all the promising stuff was taken. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper’s Magazine , 7 Dec. 2021 Many of the things left at the sorry corner are manifestly ugly or useless, yet it should not be assumed that this always represents the true dross, that all the promising stuff was taken. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper’s Magazine , 7 Dec. 2021 Many of the things left at the sorry corner are manifestly ugly or useless, yet it should not be assumed that this always represents the true dross, that all the promising stuff was taken. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper’s Magazine , 7 Dec. 2021 Many of the things left at the sorry corner are manifestly ugly or useless, yet it should not be assumed that this always represents the true dross, that all the promising stuff was taken. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper’s Magazine , 7 Dec. 2021 Even a drunk Don Draper would be embarrassed to pitch such meaningless dross. Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2021 The dross is the part where Jesus turns to address the poor man directly, like a real person instead of a prop for conjectural argument, and heals his hand. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 28 Dec. 2020 From the days of the Gold Rush and the earliest years of statehood, visitors to California have noticed dross mixed with the glitter. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 24 Dec. 2020 See More

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.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near dross

drosophyllum

dross

drosser

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Cite this Entry

“Dross.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dross. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of dross for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dross for Arabic Speakers

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