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 *brestaną (“to break, burst”), from Proto-Indo-European *bhrest- (“to separate, burst”). Cognate with Old High German bristan (“to break asunder, burst”), Old English berstan (“to break, shatter, burst”). More at burst.
- Rubble, wreckage, scattered remains of something destroyed.
2012 December 21, David M. Halbfinger, Charles V. Bagli and Sarah Maslin Nir, “On Ravaged Coastline, It’s Rebuild Deliberately vs. Rebuild Now”, New York Times:
- His neighbors were still ripping out debris. But Mr. Ryan, a retired bricklayer who built his house by hand 30 years ago only to lose most of it to Hurricane Sandy, was already hard at work rebuilding.
- Litter and discarded refuse.
2013 July 20, “Welcome to the plastisphere”, The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
- [The researchers] noticed many of their pieces of [plastic marine] debris sported surface pits around two microns across. Such pits are about the size of a bacterial cell. Closer examination showed that some of these pits did, indeed, contain bacteria, […].
- The ruins of a broken-down structure
- (geology) Large rock fragments left by a melting glacier etc.
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