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From Middle English rouble, rubel, robel, robeil, from Anglo-Norman *robel (bits of broken stone). Presumably related to rubbish, originally of same meaning (bits of stone).[1] Ultimately presumably from Proto-Germanic *raub- (to break), perhaps via Old French robe (English rob (steal)) in sense of “plunder, destroy”;[2] see also Middle English, Middle French -el.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɹʌb.əl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌbəl


rubble (countable and uncountable, plural rubbles)

  1. The broken remains of an object, usually rock or masonry.
    • 2013 June 29, “High and wet”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 28:
      Floods in northern India, mostly in the small state of Uttarakhand, have wrought disaster on an enormous scale. [] Rock-filled torrents smashed vehicles and homes, burying victims under rubble and sludge.
  2. (geology) A mass or stratum of fragments of rock lying under the alluvium and derived from the neighbouring rock.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Lyell to this entry?)
  3. (Britain, dialect, in the plural) The whole of the bran of wheat before it is sorted into pollard, bran, etc.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Simmonds to this entry?)

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  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition
  2. ^ rubble” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2020.