1. rock in small particles or other material worn or broken away from a mass, as by the action of water or glacial ice.
  2. any disintegrated material; debris.


  1. a loose mass of stones, silt, etc, worn away from rocks
  2. an accumulation of disintegrated material or debris
  3. the organic debris formed from the decay of organisms

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. pl. detritus

  1. Loose matter resulting from the wearing away or disintegration of tissue or other material.

  1. Loose fragments, such as sand or gravel, that have been worn away from rock.
  2. Matter produced by the decay or disintegration of an organic substance.

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