dregs, the sediment of liquids; lees; grounds.
Usually dregs. the least valuable part of anything: the dregs of society.
a small remnant; any small quantity.

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. 2019

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

solid particles that tend to settle at the bottom of some liquids, such as wine or coffee
residue or remains
British slang a despicable person

Word Origin for dregs

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



a small quantitynot a dreg of pity See also dregs

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.



see dregs.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper