Monday, March 31, 2014

My Dictionaries Word of the Day: DETRITUS


product of disintegration or erosion

The origin of the word is the Latin verb deterere, 'to rub away' (past participle passive detritus), and the initial meaning of 'detritus' in English, when it was adopted from French in the eighteenth century was 'wearing away by rubbing', that is, denoted the action, not the product. The current sense was soon acquired, however, and the earlier meaning rapidly became obsolete.

from Dunces, Gourmands & Petticoats: 1,300 Words Whose Meanings Have Changed Through the Ages by Adrian Room

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