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See more synonyms for dreg on Thesaurus.com
  1. dregs, the sediment of liquids; lees; grounds.
  2. Usually dregs. the least valuable part of anything: the dregs of society.
  3. a small remnant; any small quantity.
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Origin of dreg

1250–1300; Middle English < Old Norse dreg yeast (plural dreggjar dregs); cognate with Old Swedish dräg dregs
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for dregs

residue, lees, dirt, slag, waste, settlings, outcast, riffraff, rabble, loser, scum, trash, draff

Examples from the Web for dregs

Contemporary Examples of dregs

Historical Examples of dregs

  • Malbone, greedy of emotion, was drinking to the dregs a passion that could have no to-morrow.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • But Della drained her draught of joy to the dregs, and then tilted her cup anew.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • The pimps of proxenetism are recruited from the dregs of society.

  • There cling to him still the limitations and dregs of his brute life.

    The Meaning of Evolution

    Samuel Christian Schmucker

  • The sins of man are generally the dregs of his brute ancestry.

    The Meaning of Evolution

    Samuel Christian Schmucker

British Dictionary definitions for dregs


pl n
  1. solid particles that tend to settle at the bottom of some liquids, such as wine or coffee
  2. residue or remains
  3. British slang a despicable person
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Word Origin for dregs

C14 dreg, from Old Norse dregg; compare Icelandic dreggjar dregs, Latin fracēs oil dregs


  1. a small quantitynot a dreg of pity See also dregs
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Word Origin for dreg

see dregs
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 dregs


c.1300 (implied in surname Dryngedregges), from Old Norse dregg "sediment," from Proto-Germanic *drag- (cf. Old High German trestir, German Trester "grapeskins, husks"), from PIE *dher- (1) "to make muddy." Replaced Old English cognate dræst, dærst "dregs, lees." Figurative use is from 1530s.

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see dregs.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper