1540s, figurative, "destruction, overthrow;" 1610s, literal, "action of pulling down or destroying (a structure); fact of being demolished," from French demolition "demolition; defeat, rout" (14c.), from Latin demolitionem (nominative demolitio), noun of action from past-participle stem of demoliri "to tear down," from de "down" (see de-) + moliri "build, construct," from moles (genitive molis) "massive structure" (see mole (n.3)).
Mencken noted demolition engineer for "house-wrecker" by 1936. Demolition derby is recorded from 1956, American English, defined by OED as "a contest in which old cars are battered into one another, the last one running being declared the winner."
"the act of breaking or reducing to dust or powder," 1650s, noun of action from pulverize, or else from French pulvérisation, from pulveriser. Figurative sense of "utter demolition" is by 1873. Slightly earlier, but now obsolete, was pulveration (1620s).
"rough, irregular stones broken from larger masses," especially "waste fragments from the demolition of a building, etc.," late 14c., robeyl, from Anglo-French *robel "bits of broken stone," which is of obscure origin, apparently related to rubbish "waste fragments" [OED], but also possibly from Old French robe (see rob). Middle English Compendium compares Anglo-Latin rubisum, robusium.
c. 1400, robous, "waste, broken, or worn-out material," especially "rubble from the demolition of a building, etc.," from Anglo-French rubouses (late 14c.), a word of unknown origin. There are said to be no apparent cognates in Old French; OED says "app. related in some way to rubble."
The spelling with -ish is from late 15c. As "any useless or worthless stuff" by c. 1600. The verb sense of "disparage, criticize harshly" is attested by 1953 in Australian and New Zealand slang. Related: Rubbished; rubbishing.
Old English bryce "a fracture, act of breaking," from Proto-Germanic *brukiz (source also of Old Frisian breke "a burst, crack, demolition (of a house)," Old Saxon bruki, Old High German bruh, Middle Dutch broke), a noun from *brekanan (source of Old English brecan "to shatter, burst; injure, violate, destroy, curtail;" see break (v.)). The English word was influenced by Old French cognate breche "breach, opening, gap," which is from Frankish or another Germanic source. Ultimately from PIE root *bhreg- "to break."
Figurative sense of "infraction, violation, a breaking of rules, etc." was in Old English. Meaning "opening made by breaking" is from late 14c. Meaning "rupture of friendly relations" is from 1570s. Breach of contract is from at least 1660s; breach of peace "violation of public order" is from 1670s; breach of promise (usually promise of marriage) is from 1580s.