Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?
1795, "process of erosion," from Latin detritus "a wearing away," from detri-, stem of detere "wear away" (see detriment). Geological sense of "matter produced by erosion" is 1802, probably from French detritus; incorrect, in any case.
detritus de·tri·tus (dĭ-trī'təs)
n. pl. detritus
Loose matter resulting from the wearing away or disintegration of a tissue or substance.