Dictionary.com

detritus

[ dih-trahy-tuhs ]
/ dɪˈtraɪ təs /
Save This Word!

Definition of detritus

noun
rock in small particles or other material worn or broken away from a mass, as by the action of water or glacial ice.
any disintegrated material; debris.
QUIZ
WILL YOU SAIL OR STUMBLE ON THESE GRAMMAR QUESTIONS?
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of detritus

1785–95; <French détritus<Latin: a rubbing away, equivalent to dētrī-, variant stem of dēterere to wear down, rub off (de-de- + terere to rub) + -tus suffix of v. action

OTHER WORDS FROM detritus

de·tri·tal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use detritus in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for detritus

detritus
/ (dɪˈtraɪtəs) /

noun
a loose mass of stones, silt, etc, worn away from rocks
an accumulation of disintegrated material or debris
the organic debris formed from the decay of organisms

Derived forms of detritus

detrital, adjective

Word Origin for detritus

C18: from French détritus, from Latin dētrītus a rubbing away; see detriment
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

Scientific definitions for detritus

detritus
[ dĭ-trītəs ]

Loose fragments, such as sand or gravel, that have been worn away from rock.
Matter produced by the decay or disintegration of an organic substance.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
FEEDBACK