n. pl. detritus
1. Loose fragments or grains that have been worn away from rock.
2. Disintegrated or eroded matter; debris: the detritus of past civilizations.
[French détritus, from Latin dētrītus, from past participle of dēterere, to lessen, wear away; see DETRIMENT.]
de·trital (-trītl) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.