pot·​sherd ˈpät-ˌshərd How to pronounce potsherd (audio)
: a pottery fragment usually unearthed as an archaeological relic

Examples of potsherd in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For dry, disintegrating materials, such as potsherds or bones, the artifacts conservation team at Cerén creates another form of protective skin. Mary Roach, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 Finkelstein has pushed Israeli research to the forefront of science, employing precision radiocarbon dating, DNA analysis, and image processing that can examine a three-thousand-year-old potsherd and determine how many ancient scribes were involved in its making. Ruth Margalit, The New Yorker, 22 June 2020 This would mean that ‘Oumuamua was the cosmic equivalent of a potsherd—the product of a culture now dead. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, 5 Aug. 2021 The ground inside and around several of the huge shapes is littered with ancient potsherds, dating between 100 BCE and 100 CE. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, 2 Dec. 2019 Microscopic traces of ancient fats left behind on potsherds provide some clues about what people ate at those feasts. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, 5 Aug. 2019 Wood charcoal from the open spaces in the center of each ring dated to between 900 and 1200 CE, and potsherds from the same pits matched a style common at the same time. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, 5 Nov. 2019 This summer, however, during the second year of excavating, a team from Israel’s Kinneret College discovered remnants of a Roman-era bathhouse, potsherds and coins from the first to third centuries. Michele Chabin, USA TODAY, 8 Aug. 2017 The names of candidates for exile were scratched onto small potsherds and tallied, with a minimum of 6,000 votes required to banish someone. Nick Romeo, National Geographic, 4 Nov. 2016

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'potsherd.' 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 pot-sherd, from pot + sherd shard

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of potsherd was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near potsherd

Cite this Entry

“Potsherd.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/potsherd. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!