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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of rubble in a Sentence

Noun 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 After the September 2017 earthquake, many mutual aid organizations and community support efforts emerged, delivering food and clothing, and even searching rubble for life in the absence of an immediate government response. Whitney Eulich, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘What we do is help’: Mexican neighbors boost each other in pandemic," 6 July 2020 Fahrettin Koca added that rescue teams were working to recover at least 45 people trapped under the factory's rubble. NBC News, "At least four dead and almost 100 injured at Turkish fireworks factory explosion," 3 July 2020 People working as jade pickers often labor in perilous conditions, scrambling up and down the steep hills of rubble and loose shale. Helen Regan, CNN, "Jade mine landslide kills at least 100 in Myanmar, with more people still missing," 2 July 2020 Finally, in 2007, a team led by Egyptian antiquities chief Zahi Hawass began three years of careful rubble-clearing. National Geographic, "This pharaoh's painted tomb was missing its mummy," 25 June 2020 By Wednesday morning, where there had been a monument, there was instead a dirty square on the sidewalk, littered with rubble and cordoned off with metal barriers and caution tape. Kyle Whitmire, al, "Birmingham’s Confederate monument is gone, but what lies beneath is still there," 3 June 2020 All that was left of the building in the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea was a pile of rubble. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "Former top US Korea commander advocates return of nuclear platforms to South, resumption of ‘war games’ in response to provocations by North," 18 June 2020 Instead, the precinct was set ablaze and, by dawn when the smoke cleared, all that remained of the Town Talk Diner & Gastropub was rubble. Jessica Guynn, USA Today, "Broken glass, broken dreams: Small businesses ravaged by protests and COVID-19 contemplate an uncertain future," 16 June 2020 Midori’s Floating World Café had been trashed, and a group of locals who knew the restaurant’s owners salvaged potted plants amid the rubble. Luke Mogelson, The New Yorker, "The Heart of the Uprising in Minneapolis," 15 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Entire neighborhoods were reduced to ash and rubble. Scott Morris, ProPublica, "How a PG&E Contractor With a Sketchy Past Made Millions After California’s Deadliest Fire," 30 June 2010 As the dust settled, the building and much of its surroundings re-emerged, reduced to rubble. The Economist, "Fighting mockery with munitions North Korea blows up the South’s de facto embassy," 18 June 2020 Instead, police deputized some of the white attackers who had reduced Greenwood to rubble and placed black survivors in internment camps downtown. Victor Luckerson, The New Yorker, "Michael Bloomberg’s Black Agenda Gets Reviewed on Black Wall Street," 1 Mar. 2020 During the 2017 battle of Marawi on the main island of Mindanao, which killed hundreds and turned much of the city to rubble, American Marines helped the Philippine military hunt deadly Islamic State snipers. Jason Gutierrez, New York Times, "Philippines Tells U.S. It Will End Military Cooperation Deal," 11 Feb. 2020 Fat and floaty cacodemons vomit onto the streets, turning the pavement to rubble. Matthew Gault, Time, "Watch Us Play Doom Eternal, the Most Pure Form of Doom Ever Made," 21 Jan. 2020 All the beauty in a life cannot be reduced to rubble for confusion, ignoring truths that destroy all the good in us. Mitchell Peters, Billboard, "Ryan Adams Resurfaces Online Five Months After Sexual Misconduct Allegations: 'I Have a Lot to Say'," 20 July 2019 Can the Presidential wrecking ball be stopped before Trump reduces everything to rubble? John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Ukraine Defense Is the Same One He’s Used for Years: I Did It. So What?," 23 Sep. 2019 At the halfway point, the season is in ruins, reduced to rubble by their blundering offense. Rich Campbell,, "Column: The Bears’ ineptitude has a prideful group angry and searching for answers as the 2019 season spirals away," 3 Nov. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rubble

Time Traveler for rubble

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for rubble

Last Updated

15 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rubble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rubble


How to pronounce rubble (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!