from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Waste or impure matter.
  • noun The scum that forms on the surface of molten metal as a result of oxidation.
  • noun Worthless, commonplace, or trivial matter.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Refuse or impure or foreign matter which separates from a liquid and falls to the bottom or rises to the top, as in wine or oil or in molten metal; sediment; lees; dregs; scum; any refuse or waste matter, as chaff; especially, and now chiefly, the slag, scales, or cinders thrown off from molten metal.
  • noun In galvano-elect., an alloy of zinc and iron formed in the zinc-bath, partly by the solvent action of the zinc on the iron of the pot, but chiefly from the iron articles dipped, and from the dripping off of the superfluous amalgam as they come from the bath.
  • noun Figuratively, a worthless thing; the valueless remainder of a once valued thing.
  • To convert (lead) into dross or protoxid by melting in an oxidizing atmosphere. The operation is usually accomplished in a reverberatory furnace.
  • To remove dross from.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The scum or refuse matter which is thrown off, or falls from, metals in smelting the ore, or in the process of melting; recrement.
  • noun rare Rust of metals.
  • noun Waste matter; any worthless matter separated from the better part; leavings; dregs; refuse.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Waste or impure matter
  • noun Worthless or trivial matter
  • noun Residue that forms on the surface of a metal from oxidation
  • noun The impurities in metal
  • noun A waste product from working with metal
  • verb transitive To remove dross from.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun worthless or dangerous material that should be removed
  • noun the scum formed by oxidation at the surface of molten metals


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

[Middle English dros, from Old English drōs, dregs.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English drosse, dros, from Old English drōs, an apocopated variant of Old English drōsna, drōsne ("a ground, sediment, lees, dregs, dirt, ear wax"), from Proto-Germanic *drōhsnōn ("yeast, sediment"; compare Proto-Germanic *dragjō (“yeast”)), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰrak-, *dʰrag- (“sediment, yeast”). Cognate with Scots dros, drose, drosse ("small particles, fragments, dross"), Middle Dutch droes ("dregs"), Dutch droesem ("dregs"), German Drusen ("lees, dregs"), Latin fracēs ("grounds or dregs of oil"). Related also to drast, dregs.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word dross.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • bio-hazardous materials..

    August 26, 2008