• (RP) IPA: /ˈɹʌbɪʃ/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈɹʌbɪʃ/, /ˈɹə-/

rubbish (uncountable)

  1. (chiefly, Australia, New Zealand, Britain) refuse#Noun|Refuse, waste#Noun|waste, garbage, junk#Noun|junk, trash#Noun|trash.
    Synonyms: Thesaurus:trash
    The rubbish is collected every Thursday in Gloucester, but on Wednesdays in Cheltenham.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Ivlivs Cæsar”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene iii], page 113 ↗:
      What traſh is Rome? / What Rubbiſh and what Offall? when it ſerues / For the baſe matter, to illuminate / So vile a thing as Cæsar.
      Rome is trash, rubbish and offal when it serves as inferior matter that is burned to illuminate so vile a thing as Caesar.
    • [1939 May 4, James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, London: Faber and Faber Limited, OCLC 715577589 ↗; republished London: Faber & Faber Limited, 1960, OCLC 867955333 ↗, part I, page 17 ↗:
      Simply because as Taciturn pretells, our wrongstoryshortener, he dumptied the wholeborrow of rubbages on to soil here.]
  2. (by extension, chiefly, Australia, New Zealand, Britain) An item, or items, of low#Adjective|low quality.
    Much of what they sell is rubbish.
    • 1884 December 9, Mark Twain [pseudonym; Samuel Langhorne Clemens], chapter VIII, in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: (Tom Sawyer’s Comrade) […], London: Chatto & Windus, […], OCLC 458431182 ↗, page 65 ↗:
      "And ain't you had nothing but that kind of rubbage to eat?" / "No, sah—nuffn' else."
  3. (by extension, chiefly, Australia, New Zealand, Britain) Nonsense.
    Synonyms: Thesaurus:nonsense
    Everything the teacher said during that lesson was rubbish. How can she possibly think that a bass viol and a cello are the same thing?
    • 1923, D[avid] H[erbert] Lawrence, “Neighbours”, in Kangaroo, London: Martin Secker […], OCLC 5175814 ↗, pages 27–28 ↗:
      "Essays about what?" / "Oh—rubbish mostly." / There was a moment's pause. / "Oh, Lovat, don't be so silly. You know you don't think your essays rubbish," put in Harriet. "They're about life, and democracy, and equality, and all that sort of thing," Harriet explained.
    • 1933, Baroness Orczy [i.e., Emma Orczy], chapter II, in The Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel, New York, N.Y.: G[eorge] P[almer] Putnam’s Sons, published 1934, OCLC 1807382 ↗, pages 23–24 ↗:
      But just now she felt that there was something flippant and unseemly in talking such fantastic rubbish: dreams seemed out of place when reality was so heartbreaking.
  4. (archaic) Debris or ruins of building#Noun|buildings.
    • 1668, John Dryden, Annus Mirabilis: The Year of Wonders, M. DC. LXVI. […], London: Printed for Henry Herringman, […], OCLC 1064438096 ↗, stanza 280, page 71 ↗:
      At length th' Almighty caſt a pitying eye, / And mercy ſoftly touch'd his melting breaſt: / He ſaw the town's one half in rubbiſh lie, / And eager flames give on to ſtorm the reſt.
    • 1697, “The Eighth Book of the Æneis”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. […], London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, […], OCLC 403869432 ↗, lines 252–255, page 441 ↗:
      See, from afar, yon Rock that mates the Sky, / About whoſe Feet ſuch Heaps of Rubbiſh lye: / Such indigeſted Ruin; bleak and bare, / How deſart now it ſtands, expos'd in Air!
Related terms Translations Translations Adjective


  1. (chiefly, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, colloquial) Exceedingly bad; awful.
    Synonyms: abysmal, crappy, horrendous, shitty, terrible; see also Thesaurus:bad, Thesaurus:low-quality
    This has been a rubbish day, and it’s about to get worse: my mother-in-law is coming to stay.
Translations Interjection
  1. Used to express that something is exceedingly bad, awful, or terrible.
    The one day I actually practice my violin, the teacher cancels the lesson.
    Aw, rubbish! Though at least this means you have time to play football.
  2. Used to express that what was recently said is nonsense or untrue; balderdash!, nonsense!
    Synonyms: bollocks, bullshit
    Rubbish! I did nothing of the sort!
Translations Translations Verb

rubbish (rubbishes, present participle rubbishing; past and past participle rubbished)

  1. (transitive, chiefly, Australia, Britain, New Zealand, colloquial) To criticize, to denigrate, to denounce, to disparage. [from c. 1950s (Australia, New Zealand)]

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