rub·​ble | \ ˈrə-bəl How to pronounce rubble (audio) \

Definition of rubble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : broken fragments (as of rock) resulting from the decay or destruction of a building fortifications knocked into rubble— C. S. Forester
b : a miscellaneous confused mass or group of usually broken or worthless things
2 : waterworn or rough broken stones or bricks used in coarse masonry or in filling courses of walls
3 : rough stone as it comes from the quarry


rubbled; rubbling\ ˈrə-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce rubbling (audio) \

Definition of rubble (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to reduce to rubble

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Examples of rubble in a Sentence


Rescue workers managed to pull two injured people out of the rubble. The earthquake reduced the whole town to rubble.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The finds offer hope that more artifacts and specimens, currently believed destroyed, may yet emerge from the rubble. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Ancient skull found among debris in burned Brazilian museum," 25 Oct. 2018 Rescue teams developed more sophisticated ways to liberate families from the rubble. David Nath, Fox News, "Social media saves lives in Syria's Civil War," 21 Sep. 2018 Two people were reportedly pulled from the rubble alive and transported to a local hospital. Jennifer Williams, Vox, "Photos: Italy’s deadly bridge collapse kills dozens," 14 Aug. 2018 Image One of the most unsettling threads in the book is how a collapsing middle class has prompted new industries to spring forth from the rubble — or to circle overhead, like carrion birds. Jennifer Szalai, New York Times, "Going for Broke, the Middle Class Goes Broke," 27 June 2018 Civil workers had pulled nearly 500 corpses from the rubble and were still finding more six months after the fighting. Philip Issa,, "Amnesty International says US-led coalition caused many civilian deaths in fight for Raqqa," 6 June 2018 Video from the station's Chopper 3 showed firefighters pulling one person from the rubble. CBS News, "Reports of people trapped in Philadelphia building collapse," 4 June 2018 Her body was removed from the rubble Saturday evening, police said. Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY, "Two more Miami bridge collapse victims identified, as investigation continues," 18 Mar. 2018 Burned cosmetic containers are seen amid the rubble outside a warehouse in Dhaka. Jon Emont, WSJ, "Bangladesh Fire Points to Safety Shortfalls Despite Progress in Garment Industry," 22 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The giant four-engine Handley Page bombers, destined to reduce German industry to rubble, had scarcely been rolled onto the tarmac when the Armistice was declared. Paul Kennedy, WSJ, "The RAF at 100: Masters of the Skies," 29 June 2018 The wine country fires, along with other blazes in Northern California, killed 44 people and reduced entire residential neighborhoods in Santa Rosa to rubble. Dale Kasler, sacbee, "Northern California utility says it will turn the lights off when fire risk spikes," 22 Mar. 2018 Some people had been wounded in the recent airstrikes by Syria and its Russian allies that have reduced much of the area to rubble. Nada Homsi And Nick Cumming-bruce, New York Times, "‘We Were Dying in There’: Thousands of Syrians Flee Rebel Enclave," 15 Mar. 2018 Russian military officials and diplomats also have scolded the U.S.-led coalition for reducing the one-time IS capital, Raqqa, to rubble and causing severe suffering for its residents. Washington Post, "US general: Russia is both ‘arsonist and fireman’ in Syria," 27 Feb. 2018 Since igniting Sunday in spots across eight counties, the blazes have reduced entire neighborhoods to ash and rubble. Kim Chatelain,, "Girl, 3, drowns in ice cream parlor grease trap: report," 15 Oct. 2017 Since igniting Sunday in spots across eight counties, the blazes have reduced entire neighborhoods to ash and rubble. Kim Chatelain,, "Girl, 3, drowns in ice cream parlor grease trap: report," 15 Oct. 2017 Since igniting Sunday in spots across eight counties, the blazes have reduced entire neighborhoods to ash and rubble. Kim Chatelain,, "Girl, 3, drowns in ice cream parlor grease trap: report," 15 Oct. 2017 Mexico is still reeling from Thursday's earthquake, which killed at least 32 people and reduced hundreds of buildings to rubble. Amanda Erickson, Washington Post, "The city hardest hit by Mexico’s earthquake is a sexually liberated matriarchy," 8 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rubble.' 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 rubble


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1944, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for rubble


Middle English robyl

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Statistics for rubble

Last Updated

12 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for rubble

The first known use of rubble was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for rubble



English Language Learners Definition of rubble

: broken pieces of stone, brick, etc., from walls or buildings that have fallen


rub·​ble | \ ˈrə-bəl How to pronounce rubble (audio) \

Kids Definition of rubble

: rough broken pieces of stone or brick from buildings

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More from Merriam-Webster on rubble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rubble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rubble

Spanish Central: Translation of rubble

Nglish: Translation of rubble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rubble for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about rubble

Comments on rubble

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


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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