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Debris vs Chaff - What's the difference?

debris | chaff |

As nouns the difference between debris and chaff

is that debris is while chaff is the inedible parts of a grain-producing plant.

As a verb chaff is

to use light, idle language by way of fun or ridicule; to banter.



Alternative forms



  • Rubble, wreckage, scattered remains of something destroyed.
  • * {{quote-news, year=2012, date=December 21, author=David M. Halbfinger, Charles V. Bagli and Sarah Maslin Nir, title=On Ravaged Coastline, It’s Rebuild Deliberately vs. Rebuild Now, work=New York Times citation
  • , passage=His neighbors were still ripping out debris . But Mr. Ryan, a retired bricklayer who built his house by hand 30 years ago only to lose most of it to Hurricane Sandy, was already hard at work rebuilding. }}
  • Litter and discarded refuse.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-07-20, volume=408, issue=8845, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= Welcome to the plastisphere , passage=[The researchers] noticed many of their pieces of [plastic marine] debris sported surface pits around two microns across. Such pits are about the size of a bacterial cell. Closer examination showed that some of these pits did, indeed, contain bacteria, […].}}
  • The ruins of a broken-down structure
  • (geology) Large rock fragments left by a melting glacier etc.
  • Anagrams





  • The inedible parts of a grain-producing plant.
  • To separate out the chaff , early cultures tossed baskets of grain into the air and let the wind blow away the lighter chaff.
  • * Dryden
  • So take the corn and leave the chaff behind.
  • By extension, any excess or unwanted material, resource, or person; anything worthless.
  • There are plenty of good books on the subject, but take care to separate the wheat from the chaff .
  • * Shakespeare
  • the chaff and ruin of the times
  • Loose material dropped from aircraft specifically to interfere with radar detection.
  • Straw or hay cut up fine for the food of cattle.
  • * Wyatt
  • By adding chaff' to his corn, the horse must take more time to eat it. In this way ' chaff is very useful.
  • Light jesting talk; banter; raillery.
  • Derived terms

    * separate the wheat from the chaff

    See also

    * bran


    (en verb)
  • To use light, idle language by way of fun or ridicule; to banter.
  • To make fun of; to turn into ridicule by addressing in ironical or bantering language; to quiz.