noun \ˈshrap-nəl, especially Southern ˈsrap-\

: small metal pieces that scatter outwards from an exploding bomb, shell, or mine

plural shrapnel

Full Definition of SHRAPNEL

:  a projectile that consists of a case provided with a powder charge and a large number of usually lead balls and that is exploded in flight
:  bomb, mine, or shell fragments

Examples of SHRAPNEL

  1. He has a piece of shrapnel in his leg.
  2. Shrapnel from the explosion wounded many people.

Origin of SHRAPNEL

Henry Shrapnel †1842 English artillery officer
First Known Use: 1806

Other Military Terms

bivouac, logistics, petard, salient, sally, supernumerary, tactical

Rhymes with SHRAPNEL


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Originally, a type of projectile invented by the British artillery officer Henry Shrapnel (1761–1842), containing small spherical bullets and an explosive charge to scatter the shot and fragments of the shell casing. A time fuse set off the explosive charge late in the shell's flight, when it was near opposing troops. The resulting hail of high-velocity debris was often lethal; it caused most of the artillery-inflicted wounds in World War I. In World War II a high-explosive bursting charge that fragmented the shell's iron casing made shrapnel balls unnecessary; the term shrapnel came to be used for the shell-casing fragments.


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