rub·​bish ˈrə-bish How to pronounce rubbish (audio)
 dialectal  -bij
: useless waste or rejected matter : trash
: something that is worthless or nonsensical
few real masterpieces are forgotten and not much rubbish survivesWilliam Bridges-Adams
rubbishy adjective

Example Sentences

Please, pick the rubbish up off the ground. I think what he says is absolute rubbish! “I'm sorry, but I had to do it.” “Rubbish!” The food at that restaurant is complete rubbish.
Recent Examples on the Web Auiki Street had been plagued by bulky rubbish, overgrown vegetation and graffiti, according to the news outlet, but more than 100 residents, business owners, community leaders and others came out to transform the site. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 24 May 2022 As late as 1940, the city was collecting trash twice a week in neighborhoods with mostly homes, three times a week in apartment districts, and every night downtown, but independent companies were scooping up rubbish in the harbor, in Venice, and in the burgeoning San Fernando Valley. Los Angeles Times, 1 Feb. 2022 Sullivan wrote in an order that the plant’s Peruvian owner, Fernando Palazuelo, and his company, Arte Express Detroit, must remove all rubbish and debris from the sprawling site and demolish all buildings and structures on the property, which covers several blocks on Detroit’s east side. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 14 Apr. 2022 Seats at some sidewalk cafes located near heaps of rubbish are empty. Elaine Ganley, Anchorage Daily News, 21 Mar. 2023 Residents quickly rallied to return to some sense of normalcy, sorting through rubbish as sewage leaked out of manholes into the river. Julia Coin And Jack Prator, Orlando Sentinel, 2 Oct. 2022 The metal might have come from assorted trash (paint cans, automobile transmissions, rubbish) that people had thrown into the lagoon over the years, or possibly from spare change that the swans swallowed, or from some other, undetected source in the lagoon’s soil. Susan Orlean, The New Yorker, 15 Feb. 2023 And less than 7% of legacy waste had been bio-mined, which involves excavating, treating and potentially reusing old rubbish. Vedika Sud, CNN, 10 Dec. 2022 Nevin fought back through his union, asserting that the door had been atop a pile of rubbish, not attached to the house, and arguing that salvaging materials had become an accepted practice for repairing fire stations grown decrepit in the years before the city’s bankruptcy. Bill Laytner, Detroit Free Press, 5 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rubbish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English robous

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of rubbish was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near rubbish

Cite this Entry

“Rubbish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


rub·​bish ˈrəb-ish How to pronounce rubbish (audio)
: useless waste or stuff that has been thrown away : trash
rubbishy adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on rubbish

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