Definition of dregs in US English:


plural noun

  • 1The remnants of a liquid left in a container, together with any sediment or grounds.

    ‘coffee dregs’
    • ‘The mug went down with a thud upon the thick wooden table, the remaining dregs never to be touched again.’
    • ‘He swigged the dregs of his coffee, wiped the back of his hand across his moustache and typed in the headline.’
    • ‘Greeks also ‘knock wood’ to guard against misfortune, and reading one's fortunes in the patterns of coffee dregs remains popular.’
    • ‘When the cheese is used up, the dregs are allowed to brown on the bottom of the container and then scraped off and shared.’
    • ‘Celly swallowed the bitter dregs of her coffee and tapped the phone against her thigh.’
    • ‘‘Well,’ he said, swishing the dregs of his coffee around in the glass contemplatively.’
    • ‘I swigged the dregs of my coke, crunching what remained of the ice cubes.’
    • ‘Why, he couldn't discern… he took a gulp of tea until only the dregs remained.’
    • ‘He downed the last of the coffee in one, closed the newspaper, rinsed the dregs out of the cup, and contemplated - not for the first time - that maybe he thought too much.’
    • ‘‘Oh well,’ I say, draining the dregs of my coffee.’
    • ‘This fits directly below the machine, holds a container for coffee dregs and has space for a number of cups and saucers as well as filters and other accessories, all of which are dishwasher-proof.’
    • ‘The violin has a sensual sound just like cafe mocha has a sensual taste - but like the bitter dregs at the bottom of a coffee cup, even the most soothing minstrels are a little harsh on the ears after, say, an hour.’
    • ‘After draining the last few dregs of his coffee his watch told him it was almost 8: 00.’
    • ‘He drained the last of his coffee dregs and got up.’
    • ‘Adam threw away the dregs of his coffee and turned back to the house as the sound of Joseph's laugh trickled like sweet music through the stillness.’
    • ‘‘Coffee ladies’ read fortunes in the dregs of a cup of coffee.’
    sediment, deposit, residue, remains, accumulation
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    1. 1.1 The most worthless part or parts of something.
      ‘the dregs of society’
      • ‘At one end are public figures whilst at the other are the dregs of society.’
      • ‘We are dropouts from society, useless dregs who make no contribution, so it is inevitable that people will look at us strangely and with contempt.’
      • ‘The political landscape may not have been irretrievably transformed, but we at last have a breed of politicians who have a chance to prove they can do better than ‘the dregs of society’.’
      • ‘That's why you built your career on defending the dregs of society.’
      • ‘He was dressed like he had spent his life growing up in the dregs of society, but that was to be expected considering where we were coming from - it was less suspicious walking around dressed like we were.’
      • ‘All police officers must encounter some of the dregs of society in their careers but the work of this department surely tests one's faith in human kind.’
      • ‘The film is so good at anti-glamour that it made me question my fondness for other movies about society's dregs.’
      • ‘These were mostly the dregs of society, the very poor, the crippled, the refugees and vagrants, the streetwalkers, the so-called witches, and all other manner of wretched folk.’
      • ‘Going out to face whoever was in the streets had to be better than staying in here with these dregs of human society.’
      • ‘But yeah, cop shows - especially those that purport to be ‘gritty’ - are nearly always about the hero keeping us safe from society's lower dregs.’
      • ‘She couldn't imagine going back to tending bar for the dregs of society.’
      • ‘The rest of us split up into pairs - me and Joanna, Mac and Miss Halden - and headed back to my place, trying to look inconspicuous when in fact we looked like the dregs of an army division after three days' combat.’
      • ‘Whether it's an abandoned junkyard, the homestead of a strange couple, a society of dregs, even the Dunn property itself, each locale adds a new bit of depth to the story and tactility to the atmosphere.’
      • ‘They are the dregs of humanity - the absolute scum of the earth - who see someone with a different colour of skin as a target for death.’
      • ‘Only small dregs of underwater grass and seaweed remained… and the ground smelled heavily of salt.’
      • ‘It is an impressive accumulation of human dregs though.’
      • ‘Easy as it would be to dismiss them as fools or worse, they are not the dregs of society but instead the wrong people in the wrong circumstance.’
      • ‘Eventually, these prison craft shops could be turning out all sorts of reasonably priced decorating goods, under Martha's label, while giving the dregs of society a valuable trade.’
      • ‘Others are, quite frankly, the dregs of society.’
      • ‘His 30-year career of hunting down society's dregs had apparently endowed him with the right to be both judge and jury.’
      scum, refuse
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Middle English: probably of Scandinavian origin and related to Swedish drägg (plural).