\ ˈshärd \

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 \ : 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

One passenger was slightly injured by shards from a window shattered by the storm. Mari Yamaguchi, The Seattle Times, "Stranded people leave flooded airport after typhoon in Japan," 4 Sep. 2018 The bullet hit McGowen's flashlight, and shards ricocheted into his eye. Sarah Parvini,, "For Visalia police, Golden State Killer suspect is 'the ghost we've been chasing'," 7 May 2018 Tickled to meet two Yanqui travelers, Eduardo opened a rusty grille and led us into a maze of dark tunnels, where flickering lightbulbs revealed old Cuban uniforms and a shards of the American U-2 spy plane shot down during the standoff. Tony Perrottet, WSJ, "A Weirdly Fascinating Cold-War Tour of Havana," 20 Nov. 2018 One, as Quanta magazine outlines, is the possibility is that Oumuamua is a shard of a planet that was blown up by a dying star. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Oumuamua is the only interstellar object we’ve ever seen in our solar system. What is it?," 6 Nov. 2018 He, too, was killed by debris: The storm blew several nails and a shard of metal into his neck. Todd Pitman, Fox News, "AP WAS THERE: 2013 typhoon kills thousands in Philippines," 15 Sep. 2018 Made out of hydrochloric acid, steam, and shards of volcanic glass, the gas is hazardous to anyone who breathes it. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "The lava striking the sea is gorgeous — and can be deadly," 22 May 2018 Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart. House Beautiful, "Ina Garten's Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts," 28 Aug. 2010 The shard of a building juts across the narrow river like a bridge, casting an angular silhouette against the Nordic backdrop. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Stunning Nordic town hall is part of the landscape," 6 Aug. 2018

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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Last Updated

4 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for shard

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

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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 \

Kids Definition of shard

: a sharp piece or fragment of something

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More from Merriam-Webster on shard

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shard

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shard

Spanish Central: Translation of shard

Nglish: Translation of shard for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shard for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shard

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marked by shyness and lack of polish

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