rub·​ble | \ ˈrə-bəl \

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 \

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

Now, insurance investigators are sifting through the rubble. Mark Maremont, WSJ, "SEC Charges Former Insurance Wunderkind With Fraud," 17 Oct. 2018 The market competition that drives innovation and efficiency is a wrecking ball that leaves some among us sifting through the rubble, all the time. Will Wilkinson, Vox, "“Socialism” vs. “capitalism” is a false dichotomy," 16 Aug. 2018 The robot can pick up blocks, navigate through rubble, climb stairs or karate chop wood with its powerful arms. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "This Robot Centaur May Be the Future of Search-and-Rescues," 28 July 2018 Firefigthers sort through the rubble after the blast. Jared Gilmour, miamiherald, "Exploding home shook houses for miles. Cries under rubble led to a dramatic rescue, video shows," 25 June 2018 Greene and his dog spent several days searching through the rubble looking for survivors. Kathleen Mcwilliams,, "Hundreds Of Officers Gather To Remember Trooper First Class Walter Greene," 12 June 2018 Jerry Flowers, an Oklahoma policeman, dug through rubble at what became known as the pit, near where, earlier that morning, there had been a day-care center. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, "The Rise of the Victims’-Rights Movement," 14 May 2018 About 9,000 barrels were amid the rubble, Mr. Spalding said. New York Times, "Thousands of Bourbon Barrels Come Crashing Down in Kentucky," 22 June 2018 Amos Peaslee, who founded the federal government’s Diplomatic Courier Service in 1918 amidst the still-smoking rubble of World War I. The papers will form the core of a museum display commemorating the courier service's 100th anniversary this year. Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY, "100 years of secrecy: The story of America's first swashbuckling diplomatic couriers," 11 Apr. 2018

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 Feb 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 \

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).


a servile follower or underling

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