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detritus Line breaks: de|tritus
Pronunciation: /dɪˈtrʌɪtəs/

Definition of detritus in English:


[mass noun]
1Waste or debris of any kind: the streets were foul with detritus
More example sentences
  • It records that the lineside across much of the network is ‘currently disfigured not only by general litter and waste but by detritus of specific railway origin’.
  • The debris and detritus from the sites that were destroyed have been either tainted or sterilized.
  • Goats, oxen and others wandered listlessly amongst the scattered waste and detritus.
debris, waste, waste matter, discarded matter, refuse, rubbish, litter, scrap, flotsam and jetsam, lumber, rubble, wreckage;
remains, remnants, fragments, scraps, spoilage, dregs, leavings, sweepings, dross, scum, chaff, offscourings, swill, slag;
North American  trash, garbage;
Australian/New Zealand  mullock
informal dreck, junk
British informal grot, gash
vulgar slang shit, crap
Archaeology  debitage
rare draff, raffle, raff, cultch, orts
1.1Gravel, sand, silt, or other material produced by erosion.
Example sentences
  • This may reflect drowning of the source of carbonate and terrigenous clastic detritus, and/or retreat of a sediment dispersal system.
  • Therefore none of the mafic sheets supplied detritus to the sedimentary environment.
  • The fact that these rocks were not supplying detritus to the sedimentary basin is consistent with the geological observation that they always appear covered by the younger deposits, with little or no discontinuity until the Devonian.
1.2Organic matter produced by the decomposition of organisms.
Example sentences
  • Tentacles at the end of its body pick up minute plants and detritus (dead organic matter) settling from sea.
  • Periwinkles feed blamelessly by scraping detritus and organic matter off almost bare rock.
  • In general, trilobites appear to have been benthonic organisms feeding on organic detritus on the sea floor, but some may have captured small soft-bodied organisms which would have been passed forward to the mouth by the limbs.


Pronunciation: /dɪˈtrʌɪt(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • These detrital sediments have, however, been investigated archaeologically only to a depth of less than five meters in any part of the Niger Delta.
  • The variations in the observed detrital influx primarily indicate variable rates of weathering and erosion of terrestrial sediments associated with climate and sea-level fluctuations.
  • Emergent macrophytes are a major source of organic matter production in freshwater wetlands, and often represent the bulk of the plant material entering the detrital pool.


Late 18th century (in the sense 'detrition'): from French détritus, from Latin detritus, from deterere 'wear away'.

Words that rhyme with detritus

Heraclitus, Polyclitus, Titus, Vitus
Definition of detritus in:
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