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 legs of the nylons stretch downward, ending in two dark braids that graze the rubble below. Sharon Mizota, Los Angeles Times, "For these 20 women artists, ‘Rapunzel’ and ‘Dyketactics’ are just the beginning," 16 Aug. 2019 The rubble would have been piled up in mounds six to seven stories high then covered with earth, according to plans submitted to the county in 1989 and introduced during the trial. Allan Vought, The Aegis, "With $45.4 million at stake, what's next after the rubblefill judgment?," 20 Apr. 2018 And as the rubble settles on the dad sneaker explosion, why not skip to the source and wear the real thing? Tyler Watamanuk, GQ, "New Balance Is Re-Issuing the OG Dad Sneaker at a Dad-Friendly Price," 3 Apr. 2018 Warplanes then make a second pass and bomb the rubble to ensure its complete destruction. David Brennan, Newsweek, "Why Did Israel Destroy A Syrian Nuclear Reactor?," 21 Mar. 2018 The grassy hillocks are rubble from the powerful Magadha empire, whose kings funded the world’s first Buddhist monasteries, more than two millennia ago. Paul Salopek, The New Yorker, "Walking the Path of the Buddha in a Neglected Corner of India," 9 Aug. 2019 San Diego County Sheriff Search and Rescue Dogs continued to search the debris later that day in case any more people were trapped underneath the rubble, authorities said. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "Three people were killed after a cliff collapsed on an Encinitas beach," 3 Aug. 2019 By June, the site, which was a pile of rubble for a few months, started to look more like an interstate, with four lanes of segments in place. Anna Beahm |,, "I-59/20 bridge project progress, 6 months in," 20 July 2019 As the afternoon wore on, helicopters struggled to land on the rubble because of fears that the ground was unstable, and instead hovered above to load the injured. Peter Prengaman, The Seattle Times, "Collapse of buildings in Rio kills 3 in militia-run area," 12 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Upper Krust restaurant at 172 Reading Road had been destroyed in a fire in March 1969, and had re-opened just a few weeks before it was reduced to rubble a second time. Jeff Suess,, "50 years ago, ‘forgotten’ tornado struck Galbraith and Reading," 8 Aug. 2019 All the beauty in a life cannot be reduced to rubble for lies. Joey Nolfi,, "Ryan Adams hints at musical comeback after sexual misconduct allegations," 20 July 2019 All the beauty in a life cannot be reduced to rubble for lies. Mitchell Peters, Billboard, "Ryan Adams Resurfaces Online Five Months After Sexual Misconduct Allegations: 'I Have a Lot to Say'," 20 July 2019 Pictures shared by the migrants show the hangar reduced to rubble littered with body parts. Maggie Michael,, "Deadly land, deadly sea: Libya migrants face brutal choice," 4 July 2019 Pictures shared by the migrants show the hangar reduced to rubble littered with body parts. NBC News, "Migrants trapped in Libya face deadly choices on land, at sea," 5 July 2019 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

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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Last Updated

27 Aug 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).


to make a temporary encampment

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