See more synonyms for garbage on
  1. discarded animal and vegetable matter, as from a kitchen; refuse.
  2. any matter that is no longer wanted or needed; trash.
  3. anything that is contemptibly worthless, inferior, or vile: There's nothing but garbage on TV tonight.
  4. worthless talk; lies; foolishness.
  5. Slang. any unnecessary item added to something else, as for appearance only; garnish: I'll have an Old Fashioned, but without the garbage.
  6. useless artificial satellites or parts of rockets floating in space, as satellites that are no longer transmitting information or rocket boosters jettisoned in flight.
  7. Computers. meaningless or unwanted data: That program was not properly debugged and produced nothing but garbage.

Origin of garbage

1400–50; late Middle English: discarded parts of butchered fowls; compared with garbelage the removal of waste from spices (< Anglo-French, Old French; see garble, -age) or Old French garbage tax on sheaves of grain, though shift of sense, and form in first case, is unclear

Synonyms for garbage

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for garbage

Contemporary Examples of garbage

Historical Examples of garbage

  • "Cleansing fires for that sort of garbage," he said finally.

  • He drained the bottle; then hurled it into the garbage pail with a resounding crash.

    The Doorway

    Evelyn E. Smith

  • A mound of garbage crowned with the dead body of a dog arrested us not.


    Joseph Conrad

  • Describe the method used in his community in disposing of garbage.

    Boy Scouts Handbook

    Boy Scouts of America

  • We then specified places at which garbage, etc., should be dumped.

British Dictionary definitions for garbage


  1. worthless, useless, or unwanted matter
  2. Also called: rubbish discarded or waste matter; refuse
  3. computing invalid data
  4. informal nonsense

Word Origin for garbage

C15: probably from Anglo-French garbelage removal of discarded matter, of uncertain origin; compare Old Italian garbuglio confusion
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 garbage

early 15c., "giblets of a fowl, waste parts of an animal," later confused with garble in its sense of "siftings, refuse." Perhaps some senses derive from Old French garbe "a bundle of sheaves, entrails," from Proto-Germanic *garba- (cf. Dutch garf, German garbe "sheaf"), from PIE *ghrebh- "a handful, a grasp." Sense of "refuse, filth" is first attested 1580s; used figuratively for "worthless stuff" from 1590s. Garbology "study of waste as a social science" is from 1976.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper