[ruhb-uh l or for 3, 4, roo-buh l]


broken bits and pieces of anything, as that which is demolished: Bombing reduced the town to rubble.
any solid substance, as ice, in irregularly broken pieces.
rough fragments of broken stone, formed by geological processes, in quarrying, etc., and sometimes used in masonry.
masonry built of rough fragments of broken stone.

Origin of rubble

1350–1400; Middle English rubel, robil < ?; cf. rubbish Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for rubble

debris, fill, scree, brash

Examples from the Web for rubble

Contemporary Examples of rubble

Historical Examples of rubble

  • Into it he dropped the ring, covering it again with all the leafy "rubble and wreck" of the wood.

    The Coryston Family

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

  • Where there had been shops and hotels, there were now heaps of rubble and calcined bricks.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • Why was she stumbling about amongst the rubble and catching her dress in brambles and burrs?

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • Only bleak, black and gray hills of rock and rubble were there, no cars, no life.

    Pleasant Journey

    Richard F. Thieme

  • He could have been lying in the rubble of that alley for an hour—or a second.

    The K-Factor

    Harry Harrison (AKA Henry Maxwell Dempsey)

British Dictionary definitions for rubble



fragments of broken stones, bricks, etc
any fragmented solid material, esp the debris from ruined buildings
quarrying the weathered surface layer of rock
Also called: rubblework masonry constructed of broken pieces of rock, stone, etc
Derived Formsrubbly, adjective

Word Origin for rubble

C14 robyl; perhaps related to Middle English rubben to rub, or to rubbish
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 rubble

"rough, irregular stones broken from larger masses," late 14c., robeyl, from Anglo-French *robel "bits of broken stone," probably related to rubbish [OED], but also possibly from Old French robe (see rob).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper