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  • WordNet 3.6
    • n detritus loose material (stone fragments and silt etc) that is worn away from rocks
    • n detritus the remains of something that has been destroyed or broken up
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Detritus (Geol) A mass of substances worn off from solid bodies by attrition, and reduced to small portions; as, diluvial detritus .
    • Detritus 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."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n detritus In geology, loose, uncompacted fragments of rock, either water-worn or angular. The term is especially applicable to a material which would be a breccia if consolidated into a rock. See gravel, sand, and drift.
    • n detritus More comprehensively, any broken or comminuted, material worn away from a mass by attrition; any aggregate of loosened fragments or particles.
    • n detritus In pathology, caseous or other disorganized material formed by the destruction of living tissue.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Detritus de-trī′tus a mass of substance gradually rubbed or worn off solid bodies: an aggregate of broken or loosened fragments, esp. of rock
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. détritus, fr. L. detritus, p. p. of deterere,. See Detriment
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L.,—de, off, and terĕre, tritum, to rub.


In literature:

There is no guano comparable in fertility with the detritus of a capital.
"Les Misérables Complete in Five Volumes" by Victor Hugo
Nothing is wasted; life's detritus is used for self defense.
"The Life of the Fly" by J. Henri Fabre
They rest on fragments of the underlying sandstone, and are covered by a few inches thick of detritus.
"A Naturalist's Voyage Round the World" by Charles Darwin
The whole effect of what he said would be lost in quaestiunculae and hidden in a controversial detritus.
"The English Constitution" by Walter Bagehot
The barest standing-room was afforded by a patch of shingle and detritus.
"The Stowaway Girl" by Louis Tracy
Detritus: rubbed off; a surface partly denuded.
"Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology" by John. B. Smith
We entered the canon without halting, and galloped over the detritus, and round huge boulders that lay in its bed.
"The Scalp Hunters" by Mayne Reid
The urine is this detritus in a state of solution.
"Surgical Anatomy" by Joseph Maclise
By some unknown convulsion, this detritus had been heaped up.
"Fragments of science, V. 1-2" by John Tyndall
The Croen, Cyane, standing beside me, suddenly leaped off the ledge, her long limbs making easy going of the sloping detritus below.
"Valley of the Croen" by Lee Tarbell
It lies on the slope of the bank of loose detritus, on which the temple itself is built.
"El Kab" by J.E. Quibell
I was surprised to see that there was no trail of detritus behind us.
"Astounding Stories of Super-Science July 1930" by Various
The largest holes are filled up with detritus of all kinds.
"The Industries of Animals" by Frédéric Houssay
The larvae do not live in fluid media but in moist detritus in dark places.
"Handbook of Medical Entomology" by William Albert Riley
Much detritus along streambanks.
"Fishes of Chautauqua, Cowley and Elk Counties, Kansas" by Artie L. Metcalf
Then a dense cloud of dust and detritus arose to windward and advanced with a strident moan.
"By Veldt and Kopje" by William Charles Scully
It is the progressive diffusion of its detritus from superior to inferior positions in its length.
"Scenes and Adventures in the Semi-Alpine Region of the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and Arkansas" by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft
Now the Fal is choked with detritus for miles down.
"Cornwall" by Sabine Baring-Gould
The detritus chambers are octagonal in plan, 4 m. in diameter, and each is provided with an outlet weir 1.50 m. wide.
"ASCE 1193: The Water-Works and Sewerage of Monterrey, N. L., Mexico" by George Robert Graham Conway
Eventually, the pus is transformed into a detritus in which fat-drops are found in great number.
"A System of Practical Medicine by American Authors, Vol. I" by Various

In news:

She wanders upstairs Into her elder Victorian, Looking intent as a bug Nestling into detritus.
Is the detritus of the Iraq war harming the babies of Fallujah.
"Upon Viewing Oregon's Landscape With the Flood of Detritus ".
Apartment's detritus offers glimpse into suspect's life.
'Genius Award' for Scenes of Urban Detritus .
Detritus from columns past.
The colored detritus from a foot detox bath indicated the writer's thin and fit friend had fat issues.
The navy blue suit, with or without a crisp white collar, has apparently passed into fashion history to join hoops, bustles, corsets and other detritus.
The detritus of human life is collecting in a Pacific Ocean garbage patch that is believed to be twice the size of Texas.
Jennifer Groman, NASA's federal preservation officer, who typically safeguards spacesuits, satellites and other man-made detritus of the space-age, viewed the imprint Friday.
Today's column is a detritus of thoughts.
The gently floating detritus resembled a peaceful winter snow fall, just with bits of bloody pigeon meat attached.
Unless your garage or workspace is just for show, you'll need a powerful vacuum to clean up all the dirt, dust, water, and overall detritus that builds up after a hard day's work.
SUCH is its allure that on a recent wintry day, when the melting detritus of a snowstorm was keeping most New Yorkers off the streets, Gramercy Park was zinging with activity.
Ever found balloon detritus when hiking in a pristine wilderness.

In science:

The circumstellar material around η Carinae mostly consists of the detritus of the giant eruptions in 19th century.
Eta Car and Its Surroundings: the X-ray Diagnosis
As a proxy for environmental pressure we considered the availability of energy from detritus (particulate organic matter) input.
The Emergence of Modularity in Biological Systems
Detritus is central to many food webs and particularly small rivers are fueled by detritus input from surrounding terrestrial plants .
The Emergence of Modularity in Biological Systems
Food webs of rivers flowing through habitats with low detritus input are more hierarchical.
The Emergence of Modularity in Biological Systems
This allowed us to investigate how CCC varies explicitly with detritus input rather than with the surrounding habitat.
The Emergence of Modularity in Biological Systems
The results in figure 19 show a clear trend of decreasing CCC with decreasing detritus availability.
The Emergence of Modularity in Biological Systems
Not all fine particulate organic matter in a river is a consequence of detritus input but significant detritus input will lead to more particulate organic matter.
The Emergence of Modularity in Biological Systems
Keller, Functional roles of leaf litter detritus in terrestrial food webs, in: P. de Ruiter, V.
The Emergence of Modularity in Biological Systems