\ ˈshärd How to pronounce shard (audio) \

Definition of shard

1a : a piece or fragment of a brittle substance shards of glass broadly : a small piece or part : scrap little shards of time and space recorded by the camera's lens — Rosalind Krauss
b : shell, scale especially : elytron
2 or sherd \ ˈshərd How to pronounce shard (audio) \ : a fragment of a pottery vessel found on sites and in refuse deposits where pottery-making peoples have lived
3 : highly angular curved glass fragments of tuffaceous sediments

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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.

Examples of shard in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Photos of Packer show him as part of a crowd displaying a broken shard of nameplate from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "Federal prosecutors announce more Capitol siege charges as House votes to impeach Trump," 13 Jan. 2021 Kreese comes after Daniel with a shard of glass from the window, and Daniel finally uses his supersecret karate special weapon and paralyzes the limbs of Kreese, a man who has been collecting Social Security benefits for at least a decade. Brian Moylan, Vulture, "Cobra Kai Season-Finale Recap: O Holy Fight," 4 Jan. 2021 Everything and everyone was conceived of as a fragmented shard of the universe, which was ultimately one great impersonal unity. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "Christianity as Ideology: The Cautionary Tale of the Jericho March," 18 Dec. 2020 In 1994, a Defense Department satellite, MSTI-2, went dark shortly after launch; NASA speculated that a shard had collided with a bundle of wires, causing a short. Raffi Khatchadourian, The New Yorker, "Read More," 21 Sep. 2020 Called ostraca, each shard was scrawled with the name of a candidate the voter wanted to see exiled from the city for the next 10 years. Megan Gannon, Smithsonian Magazine, "Ancient Greeks Voted to Kick Politicians Out of Athens If Enough People Didn’t Like Them," 27 Oct. 2020 He had been rushed into emergency surgery to remove a shard of glass from his face after a scuffle with someone who tried to rob the store. Michael Corkery, New York Times, "A Korean Store Owner. A Black Employee. A Tense Neighborhood.," 15 Oct. 2020 Rudolph lost her right eye and a shard of glass remains in her left eye. Kim Chandler, Star Tribune, "1963 church bombing survivor seeks apology, restitution," 26 Sep. 2020 Even a minuscule shard could smash a satellite to pieces, dispersing more high-velocity debris. Raffi Khatchadourian, The New Yorker, "Read More," 21 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shard.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of shard

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for shard

Middle English, from Old English sceard; akin to Old English scieran to cut — more at shear

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Time Traveler for shard

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The first known use of shard was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

24 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shard.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for shard



English Language Learners Definition of shard

: a sharp piece of something (such as glass or pottery)


\ ˈshärd How to pronounce shard (audio) \

Kids Definition of shard

: a sharp piece or fragment of something

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More from Merriam-Webster on shard

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shard

Nglish: Translation of shard for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shard for Arabic Speakers

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