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Alternative forms[edit]


From late Middle English garbage (the offal of a fowl, giblets, kitchen waste”, originally “refuse, what is purged away), from Anglo-Norman, from Old French garber (to refine, make neat or clean), of Germanic origin, from Frankish *garwijan (to make ready).

Akin to Old High German garawan (to prepare, make ready), Old English ġearwian (to make ready, adorn). More at garb, yare, gear



garbage (uncountable) (chiefly US, Canada, Australia)

  1. Food waste material of any kind.
  2. Useless or disposable material; waste material of any kind.
    The garbage truck collects all residential municipal waste.
  3. A place or receptacle for waste material.
    He threw the newspaper into the garbage.
  4. Nonsense; gibberish.
    This machine translation is garbage
  5. Something or someone worthless.
    • 1966, Owen Chadwick, The Victorian Church, volume 1, page 103:
      The dissenting Christian Advocate asked (5 January 1835) how a cabinet composed of the very garbage of Toryism could be expected to share the spirit of Peel’s manifesto.
  6. (obsolete) The bowels of an animal; refuse parts of flesh; offal.
  7. (sports, slang, Canada, US, attributive) An easy shot.
    • 1962, Coach & Athlete, page 18:
      Yet, even without the three second rule, where your big man could camp underneath and take those delightful “garbage” shots, there was little or no pivot offense, no cutting off the bucket.
    • 1981, Update 1981: The Great Contemporary Issues, New York Times Company, page 78:
      [] the aging pro, in a much-heralded "boys against the girls" tennis match, annihilated Margaret Court with an array of "garbage shots and cotton balls."


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Derived terms[edit]



garbage (third-person singular simple present garbages, present participle garbaging, simple past and past participle garbaged)

  1. (transitive, chiefly US, Canada, obsolete) to eviscerate
    • 1674, John Josselyn, Two Voyages to New England, Made During the Years 1638-63 (quoted in William Butts Mershon, The Passenger Pigeon, 1907, The Outing Publishing Company):
      I have bought at Boston a dozen Pidgeons ready pulled and garbidged for three pence.
    Synonyms: disembowel, eviscerate, gut


garbage (not comparable)

  1. (informal) bad, crap, shitty
    • 2009, David R. Portney, 129 More Seminar Speaking Success Tips[1], →ISBN, page 8:
      Forget about that garbage advice to “act natural”.
    • 2010, Nicholas Rombes, A Cultural Dictionary of Punk: 1974-1982:
      half that shit you morons listen to with pride is totally garbage
    • 2011, Ezekiel Dayo Adetunji, Power in the Spoken Word!, page 110:
      If you have been with a man for more than five years and both of you have not planned to marry one another, the relationship is completely garbage, and you can do but nothing with it more than having a sexual life with one another.
    • 2021, Giselle Renarde, Play It On My Radio: A Diary In Music, page 309:
      The last time I had access to a therapist was 20 years ago, and that was a pretty garbage experience.

See also[edit]

Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


From a derivative of Old French garber.


  • IPA(key): /ɡarˈbaːd͡ʒ(ə)/


garbage (plural garbagys) (Late Middle English)

  1. bird dung
  2. entrails, offal


  • English: garbage
  • Yola: graabache, graapish