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frag·​ment ˈfrag-mənt How to pronounce fragment (audio)
: a part broken off, detached, or incomplete
The dish lay in fragments on the floor.


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frag·​ment ˈfrag-ˌment How to pronounce fragment (audio)
fragmented; fragmenting; fragments

intransitive verb

: to fall to pieces

transitive verb

: to break up or apart into fragments
Choose the Right Synonym for fragment

part, portion, piece, member, division, section, segment, fragment mean something less than the whole.

part is a general term appropriate when indefiniteness is required.

they ran only part of the way

portion implies an assigned or allotted part.

cut the pie into six portions

piece applies to a separate or detached part of a whole.

a puzzle with 500 pieces

member suggests one of the functional units composing a body.

a structural member

division applies to a large or diversified part.

the manufacturing division of the company

section applies to a relatively small or uniform part.

the entertainment section of the newspaper

segment applies to a part separated or marked out by or as if by natural lines of cleavage.

the retired segment of the population

fragment applies to a part produced by or as if by breaking off.

only a fragment of the play still exists

Examples of fragment in a Sentence

Noun The dish lay in fragments on the floor. I could only hear fragments of their conversation. Verb The party is fragmenting into warring factions. These issues are fragmenting our society. property being fragmented into subdivisions
Recent Examples on the Web
The recent excavations revealed numerous artifacts—including pottery, two bone combs and fragments of glass from a drinking vessel—dating to this period. Aaron Boorstein, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 Apr. 2024 Doctors were reportedly unable to remove some of the bullet fragments from his face, and a bone near his eye was also broken. Jessica Sager, Peoplemag, 11 Apr. 2024 Similarly, sharing a DNA fragment with any one out of your millions of medieval genealogical ancestors does not mean any special relationship – beyond sharing a DNA fragment. Discover Magazine, 8 Apr. 2024 Some ran out with computers, while others threw bags of clothes out of windows onto the street, which was also still littered with broken glass and cement fragments from the quake. Siyi Zhao Lam Yik Fei, New York Times, 4 Apr. 2024 During the peeling process, dipping the eggs in a bowl of water can not only help speed up the peeling process but also rinse shell fragments off of your egg. Maryal Miller Carter, USA TODAY, 31 Mar. 2024 Archaeologists took the bundle, made from old clothes, and found a fragment of a marble carving inside, the museum said. Irene Wright, Miami Herald, 26 Mar. 2024 Microscopic fragments of volcanic glass found alongside stone tools and animal remains near Ethiopia’s Shinfa River showed how humans survived — and adapted — after the eruption. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 23 Mar. 2024 Stellantis has recalled thousands of Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 cars because of a manufacturing defect that could cause airbags to rupture unexpectedly, resulting in metal fragments flying out, potentially killing passengers. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 22 Mar. 2024
Deforestation and human settlement fragment their habitat, while poaching and unstable politics in the region hinder conservation efforts. Katie Liu, Discover Magazine, 11 Apr. 2024 Others say, however, that the ever-finer sorting of people into racial and ethnic silos will only further fragment a deeply split nation. Michael Wines, New York Times, 28 Mar. 2024 These challenges are interconnected with changing buyer behavior, as silos may fragment the buyer experience across the full lifecycle of interactions. Forrester, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2024 Hamas is currently fragmented, with leadership split geographically between Doha, Qatar, and inside the Gaza Strip. NBC News, 2 Feb. 2024 This finding provided a ray of hope for the bird’s conservation, as many of Singapore’s forested areas were already fragmented and degraded due to widespread urbanization. Anne Pinto-Rodrigues, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Apr. 2024 Moreover, consolidation entails more than simply offering an interface where users can search various applications within a single interface while data is still fragmented. Amit Verma, Forbes, 27 Feb. 2024 Maryland’s biotech landscape is fragmented with significant activities in Montgomery and Frederick counties and, of course, Baltimore. Reader Commentary, Baltimore Sun, 9 Feb. 2024 What’s the reasoning behind buying these entities at a time when so much media is fragmenting? Lachlan Cartwright, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fragment.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English, borrowed from Latin fragmentum, from frag-, variant stem of frangere "to break, shatter" + -mentum -ment — more at break entry 1


derivative of fragment entry 1

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1818, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of fragment was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near fragment

Cite this Entry

“Fragment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a part that is broken off or incomplete

Medical Definition


frag·​ment ˈfrag-mənt How to pronounce fragment (audio)
: a part broken off or detached

More from Merriam-Webster on fragment

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