Definition of rubbish in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrəbiSH/


chiefly British
1Waste material; refuse or litter: an alleyway high with rubbish
More example sentences
  • The winners of City of York Council's summer clean-up campaign were presented with prizes, won after they gained raffle tickets for putting their rubbish in waste bins.
  • The council provides residents with a green waste bin for non-recyclable household rubbish, bags for paper, boxes for glass and a separate bin for garden waste.
  • This will allow the council to introduce alternate weekly collections of recyclable waste one week and non-recyclable rubbish from the grey wheeled bin the next.
1.1Material that is considered unimportant or valueless: she had to sift through the rubbish in every drawer
More example sentences
  • Among the jumble and mess were hidden treasures priceless articles bundled next to worthless rubbish.
  • They cobble together any old rubbish to pass off as art such as baths full of baked beans or piles of old house bricks.
1.2Absurd, nonsensical, or worthless talk or ideas: I suppose you believe that rubbish about vampires
More example sentences
  • What a load of rubbish, how can they stand there talking such nonsense in front of reporters?
  • I think the idea of a metrosexual man is a load of rubbish.
  • A lot of people say I talk a load of rubbish in this column but this particular week they are absolutely right.
nonsense, balderdash, gibberish, claptrap, blarney, moonshine, garbage
informal hogwash, baloney, jive, guff, tripe, drivel, bilge, bunk, BS, piffle, poppycock, hooey, twaddle, gobbledygook, flapdoodle
vulgar slang crapola
dated bunkum, tommyrot


[with object] British informal
Criticize severely and reject as worthless: he has pointedly rubbished professional estimates of the development and running costs
More example sentences
  • But look, I'm not completely rubbishing the idea.
  • Using his position at the University of Berlin he dedicated himself to rubbishing Cantor's ideas and ruining him personally.
  • Even if post modernism readily swaps wit and subversion for gravitas and rubbishes the idea of the ‘original’ in art, the question is not invalid.


British informal
Very bad; worthless or useless: people might say I was a rubbish manager
More example sentences
  • The wonderful thing about football is that you can always find something to lighten up your day - even when you've got no leg room, a restricted view and are watching a rubbish game at Oldham.
  • We constantly hear about people being encouraged to dump their cars and get on the bus but then we are left with a rubbish bus service.
  • It sounds like a rubbish chain of hotels.


Late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French rubbous; perhaps related to Old French robe 'spoils'; compare with rubble. The change in the ending was due to association with -ish1. The verb (1950s) was originally Australian and New Zealand slang.

  • This is from Anglo-Norman French rubbous; it may be related to Old French robe ‘spoils’ ( see rob). The change in the ending was due to association with words ending in -ish. The verb meaning ‘denigrate’, found from the 1950s, was originally Australian and New Zealand slang. Rubble (Late Middle English) may also be an alteration robe.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: rub·bish

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