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or débris

[duh-bree, dey-bree or, esp. British, deb-ree] /dəˈbri, ˈdeɪ bri or, esp. British, ˈdɛb ri/
the remains of anything broken down or destroyed; ruins; rubble:
the debris of buildings after an air raid.
Geology. an accumulation of loose fragments of rock.
Origin of debris
1700-10; < French débris, Middle French debris, derivative of debriser to break up (in pieces), Old French debrisier (de- de- + brisier to break; see bruise)
1. detritus, litter, trash. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for debris
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The furniture was buried under a mass of debris, and instead of the gilded ceiling above him was only the blue sky.

    Mud and Khaki Vernon Bartlett
  • There were people about, rooting through the debris, or patrolling in groups.

    Victory Lester del Rey
  • Feverishly we worked to remove the debris which pinned them down.

  • It was a boiling brown flood, covered with drifting foam and debris.

    Nan Sherwood at Pine Camp Annie Roe Carr
  • However, all the Cubs could swim, and Dan took care to steer clear of floating logs and debris.

    Dan Carter Cub Scout Mildred A. Wirt
British Dictionary definitions for debris


/ˈdeɪbrɪ; ˈdɛbrɪ/
fragments or remnants of something destroyed or broken; rubble
a collection of loose material derived from rocks, or an accumulation of animal or vegetable matter
Word Origin
C18: from French, from obsolete debrisier to break into pieces, from bruisier to shatter, of Celtic 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
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Word Origin and History for debris

1708, from French débris "remains, waste, rubbish" (16c.), from obsolete debriser "break down, crush," from Old French de- (see de-) + briser "to break," from Late Latin brisare, possibly of Gaulish origin (cf. Old Irish brissim "I break").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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