worthless, unwanted material that is rejected or thrown out; debris; litter; trash.
nonsense, as in writing or art: sentimental rubbish.

Origin of rubbish

1350–1400; Middle English rubbes, rob(b)ous < ?; cf. rubble

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

Examples from the Web for rubbish

Contemporary Examples of rubbish

Historical Examples of rubbish

  • He began to rebuild the palace and ordered that the rubbish be removed from the temples.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • It seemed to her that even Enoch might take the hint, and clear away his rubbish.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • That is all rubbish,” he said; “people ought to stick to their own country.

    Mountain Meditations

    L. Lind-af-Hageby

  • As he left the dining-room he stumbled over a heap of rubbish in the passage.

  • Dirty finger-prints were on the hall-windows, flue and rubbish on its unwashed boards.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

British Dictionary definitions for rubbish



worthless, useless, or unwanted matter
discarded or waste matter; refuse
foolish words or speech; nonsense


(tr) informal to criticize; attack verbally

Word Origin for rubbish

C14 robys, of uncertain 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 rubbish

c.1400, robous, from Anglo-French rubouses (late 14c.), of unknown origin. No apparent cognates in Old French; apparently somehow related to rubble (see OED). Spelling with -ish is from late 15c. The verb sense of "disparage, criticize harshly" is first attested 1953 in Australian and New Zealand slang. Related: Rubbished; rubbishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with rubbish


see good riddance (to bad rubbish).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.