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 *bristijan, *bristan, *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”, in 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”, in 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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