Word of the Day

shard

audio pronunciation
November 13, 2013
noun
\SHAHRD\
Definition
1
a : a piece or fragment of a brittle substance; broadly : a small piece or part : scrap b : shell, scale; especially : elytron
2
: fragments of pottery vessels found on sites and in refuse deposits where pottery-making peoples have lived
3
: highly angular curved glass fragments of tuffaceous sediment
Examples
Julia was so startled that she dropped the bowl, and it shattered into china shards.

"The machine stubbornly held together for much of the pounding, though shards of glass could be seen flying in different directions with a few of the swipes." — From an article by Tom Precious in the Buffalo News (New York), October 13, 2013
Subscribe
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
"Shard" dates back to Old English (where it was spelled "sceard"), and it is related to the Old English word "scieran," meaning "to cut." English speakers have adopted the modernized "shard" spelling for most uses, but archeologists prefer to spell the word "sherd" when referring to the ancient fragments of pottery they unearth. Other specialized uses of the word "shard" include a sense referring to the thick front wings in beetles that protect a hind pair of wings and another sense used for the highly angular curved glass fragments of a type of volcanic rock formation.

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "pecuniary," our Word of the Day from October 13? The answer is …
More Words of the Day
Visit our archives to see previous selections.
Podcast
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears