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

Most of the rubble of Hurricane Maria has been cleaned up. Joseph B. Treaster, New York Times, "Art Museums in Puerto Rico Face Long and Expensive Recovery," 8 Mar. 2018 In time, catapult bombardment could reduce even a thick wall to rubble. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "How to Storm a Castle," 11 Apr. 2019 The call came less than two weeks after the fire tore through swaths of Northern California, killing dozens and reducing the town of Paradise, where Burnett lived with his wife and teenage daughter, to rubble. Juliet Linderman, The Seattle Times, "California man gets word of pardon after fire destroys home," 27 Nov. 2018 Some neighborhoods still have bodies beneath rubble. Raja Abdulrahim, WSJ, "To Rebuild a Syrian City, Men First Dig Up and Rebury the Dead," 26 Oct. 2018 Lack of heavy equipment was hampering attempts to find victims beneath the rubble of a mosque that collapsed in northern Lombok while villagers prayed inside, Nugroho said. Fox News, "At least 91 dead after quake rocks Indonesian tourist island," 6 Aug. 2018 They would be scorched to death, crushed by collapsing buildings, suffocated beneath rubble, and pierced with flying chunks of glass and metal. Daily Intelligencer, "This Is What a Nuclear Bomb Looks Like," 12 June 2018 Something was buried beneath the rubble in Oklahoma City, and it has never been found. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, "The Rise of the Victims’-Rights Movement," 14 May 2018 Some of the men said there were many more such sites buried beneath the rubble. Photographs And Text By Ivor Prickett, New York Times, "‘Here Is the Graveyard of ISIS’: In Mosul, the Garbage Men Collect Remains," 6 May 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

21 May 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).


one that collects or salvages junk

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