or dé·bris

[duh-bree, dey-bree or, esp. British, deb-ree]


the remains of anything broken down or destroyed; ruins; rubble: the debris of buildings after an air raid.
Geology. an accumulation of loose fragments of rock.

Origin of debris

1700–10; < French débris, Middle French debris, derivative of debriser to break up (in pieces), Old French debrisier (de- de- + brisier to break; see bruise)

Synonyms for debris Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for debris

Contemporary Examples of debris

Historical Examples of debris

  • Selected water as the spot for his fall, and was not picked up with the debris.

  • Until then the stream had followed the street; but the debris that encumbered it deflected the course.

    The Flood

    Emile Zola

  • As she spoke she stepped forward and stumbled over the debris at the door.

    The Strollers

    Frederic S. Isham

  • In the corner Nasha struggled to free herself from the debris.

    The Gun

    Philip K. Dick

  • From the overhanging rocks, too, debris falls as a result of "weathering."

British Dictionary definitions for debris




fragments or remnants of something destroyed or broken; rubble
a collection of loose material derived from rocks, or an accumulation of animal or vegetable matter

Word Origin for debris

C18: from French, from obsolete debrisier to break into pieces, from bruisier to shatter, of Celtic origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for debris

1708, from French débris "remains, waste, rubbish" (16c.), from obsolete debriser "break down, crush," from Old French de- (see de-) + briser "to break," from Late Latin brisare, possibly of Gaulish origin (cf. Old Irish brissim "I break").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper