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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ In the normal aquarium there is plenty of detritus, usually more than necessary for the plants.
▪ It prefers a fair amount of nutritious detritus.
▪ Plant detritus if available is sufficient, but if necessary it can also be nourished by liquid fertiliser.
▪ Rusted chains hung from roof girders; the floor was concrete, fouled by the windswept detritus of years of abandonment.
▪ Slowly, patiently, silently, over a detritus of cans, wrappers, boxes, papers.
▪ Therefore unwashed river sand and leaf-mould mixture, or the usual mixture of clay with some organic detritus is suitable.
▪ Unluckily, though, the boyos were not interested in such cheap detritus.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Detritus \De*tri"tus\, n. [F. d['e]tritus, fr. L. detritus, p. p. of deterere. See Detriment.]

  1. (Geol.) A mass of substances worn off from solid bodies by attrition, and reduced to small portions; as, diluvial detritus.

    Note: For large portions, the word d['e]bris is used.

  2. Hence: Any fragments separated from the body to which they belonged; any product of disintegration.

    The mass of detritus of which modern languages are composed.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1795, "process of erosion," from Latin detritus "a wearing away," from detri-, stem of detere "wear away" (see detriment). Geological sense of "matter produced by erosion" is 1802, probably from French detritus; incorrect, in any case.


n. 1 (context countable chiefly geological English) pieces of rock broken off by ice, glacier, or erosion. 2 (context biology English) Organic waste material from decompose dead plants or animals. 3 debris or fragments of disintegrated material

  1. n. the remains of something that has been destroyed or broken up [syn: debris, dust, junk, rubble]

  2. loose material (stone fragments and silt etc) that is worn away from rocks

Detritus (disambiguation)

Detritus is dead or waste organic material.

Detritus may also refer to:

  • Detritus (Discworld), a fictional character in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels
  • Detritus (geology), the particles of rock produced by weathering
Detritus (geology)

Detritus (; adjective detrital ) is particles of rock derived from pre-existing rock through processes of weathering and erosion. A fragment of detritus is called a clast. Detrital particles can consist of lithic fragments (particles of recognisable rock), or of monomineralic fragments (mineral grains). These particles are often transported through sedimentary processes into depositional systems such as riverbeds, lakes or the ocean, forming sedimentary successions. Diagenetic processes can transform these sediments into rock through cementation and lithification, forming sedimentary rocks such as sandstone. These rocks can then in turn again be weathered and eroded to form a second generation of sediment.


In biology, detritus is dead particulate organic material (as opposed to dissolved organic material). It typically includes the bodies or fragments of dead organisms as well as fecal material. Detritus is typically colonized by communities of microorganisms which act to decompose (or remineralize) the material. In terrestrial ecosystems, it is encountered as leaf litter and other organic matter intermixed with soil, which is referred to as humus. Detritus of aquatic ecosystems is organic material suspended in water and piles up on seabed floors which is referred to as marine snow.

Detritus (band)

Detritus was a European thrash metal that originated in 1989. The band consists of two current and former members of the Thrash Metal band, Seventh Angel. The band broke up in October 1993. Vocalist/Bassist Mark Broomhead formed Fire Fly and joined Seventh Angel.

Usage examples of "detritus".

Shadow stood bemused in a weak cyclone of detritus you know the way trash has in cities of playing ring-a-roses for helpless hours in a pocket of wind: food cartons, snout packs, beercans, all in their afterlife of headless chickens.

The room was stacked three-quarters full with all the detritus of an old house: chairs, curtain rods, boxes of decaying books, rolled-up, dust-laden, insect-infested carpets, broken candlesticks, bundles of ancient magazines held by string and a large brass telescope, badly dented, on a mahogany tripod.

Twelve crackers that would drive the explosions horizontally, three cussers placed shallow in the detritus to loosen the wreckage.

The suspension towers rose like the bones of some incalculably huge dinosaur above deserted asphalt lanes and side gantries lined with unidentifiable detritus.

The ground was crowded with the detritus of a seagoing folk: canoes, outriggers, and rafts had been hauled up on to the beach for the night, a dozen harpoons were stacked up against one another teepee-style, and nets, half-manufactured or half-repaired, lay heaped everywhere.

As the hoverjet took me away, just one more in a seemingly endless line of ragged survivors, only the mountains remained, hardly scarred by the bomb craters and the detritus that marked where the castle had stood, mountains looking down on humanity with the gaze of eternity.

Mud-covered children skipped and scavenged among the detritus on the exposed flats, hurrying to the ferry as it drew close to the shore, little hands upturned for any coppers.

She yearned for the volumes lining the walls, but headed first for the detritus of the adjourned meeting, uncrumpling bits of scrap paper, poking through sheets apparently torn out of ledgers and covered with scribbled accounts .

Now they gathered around Aida like small wisps of mist, barely sentient but pulsing with dark emotions, exuding the detritus of evil, despair, melancholy, gloom, mistrust, jealousy and hatred.

The Archchancellor had gone two rounds bare-fisted with Detritus, the huge odd-job troll at the Mended Drum.

What dey had been doin' down dat hole was makin' der worl' a betterer place, Sergeant Detritus said.

Normally they were just thrown away, biowaste, detritus of human tragedy.

It had to be spaded and forked deep, to accommodate their detritus of dead bummers, and then firmed flat again before the curbing could be heaped up around it.

Their feet made a sound that evoked memories for him, crunching lightly on an ancient detritus of broken clamshells, waste from the clam-fishing decades, pulverized by time and by now almost turned to soil.

The features in the scenery of the Andes which struck me most, as contrasted with the other mountain chains with which I am acquainted, were, -- the flat fringes sometimes expanding into narrow plains on each side of the valleys, -- the bright colours, chiefly red and purple, of the utterly bare and precipitous hills of porphyry, the grand and continuous wall-like dykes, -- the plainly divided strata which, where nearly vertical, formed the picturesque and wild central pinnacles, but where less inclined, composed the great massive mountains on the outskirts of the range, -- and lastly, the smooth conical piles of fine and brightly coloured detritus, which sloped up at a high angle from the base of the mountains, sometimes to a height of more than 2000 feet.