from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The scattered remains of something broken or destroyed; rubble or wreckage.
  • n. Carelessly discarded refuse; litter.
  • n. Geology An accumulation of relatively large rock fragments: glacial debris.
  • n. Biology The fragmented remains of dead or damaged cells or tissue.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Rubble, wreckage, scattered remains of something destroyed.
  • n. Litter and discarded refuse.
  • n. The ruins of a broken-down structure
  • n. Large rock fragments left by a melting glacier etc.


French débris, from Old French debrisier, to break to pieces : de-, intensive pref.; see de- + brisier, to break (from Vulgar Latin *brīsāre, to press grapes, probably of Celtic origin).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowing from French débris, itself from dé- ("de-") + bris ("broken, crumbled"), or from Middle French debriser ("to break apart"), from Old French debrisier, itself from de- + brisier ("to break apart, shatter, bust"), from Frankish *brestan (“to break violently, shatter, bust”), from Proto-Germanic *brestanan (“to break, burst”), from Proto-Indo-European *bhrest- (“to separate, burst”). Cogante with Old High German bristan ("to break asunder, burst"), Old English berstan ("to break, shatter, burst"). More at burst. (Wiktionary)



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