\ 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 sherd (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 The eastern half, including many smaller shards of ice, is following suit. National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 11 Feb. 2020 Fire safety is important in general, of course, but much more so for Army applications, in the same vein as glass that breaks into dull parts instead of sharp shards. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "What Happens Inside a Battery to Make It Catch Fire?," 10 Feb. 2020 Reimagining punk, funk, and reggae with analytical rigor, the band set telegraphic lyrics and shards of guitar noise against austerely propulsive beats and syncopated silences. Jon Pareles,, "Andy Gill, radical guitarist with Gang of Four, at 64," 2 Feb. 2020 The fragments presented as shards of shiny black material spotted within remnants of the victim’s skull. Time, "Scientists Confirm Mount Vesuvius Eruption Turned Victim's Brain Into Glass," 23 Jan. 2020 At issue is a video of Biden speaking at the Brookings Institution in April 2018 that's been widely shard by Sanders supporters and campaign staffers. Jordan Freiman, CBS News, "Biden accuses Sanders campaign of sharing "doctored" video of him attacking Social Security," 18 Jan. 2020 To breathe after losing a child to gun violence is to willingly agree to inhale tiny shards of glass into your lungs. Nelba Márquez-greene,, "Read Nelba Márquez-Greene's Powerful Words 7 Years After Her Daughter Was Killed at Sandy Hook," 12 Dec. 2019 Brain on Fire In one instance, shards of a glassy black material were extracted from a victim’s cranial cavity, the NEJM article reports. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Damn, Look What Vesuvius Did to This Poor Guy's Brain," 24 Jan. 2020 Then there's the exoplanet 55 Cancri e, a super-Earth likely to host lava flows on its surface while rain made of silicates falls like glass shards. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "The real-life planets you may have first seen in a 'Star Wars' film," 10 Dec. 2019

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

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shard.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for shard


How to pronounce shard (audio)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shard

Spanish Central: Translation of shard

Nglish: Translation of shard for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shard for Arabic Speakers

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