\ 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 team bus for the Royals, the Blue Jays' opponent, was damaged by flying chunks of ice and a player had to take the wheel when the driver was hit by glass shards. Editors, USA TODAY, "James Comey's book, Tax Day, Arizona teachers strike: 5 things to know Tuesday," 17 Apr. 2018 In a horrifying, split-second shard of a shot, Kopechne’s hand reaches out toward Kennedy as the vehicle flies out of his control. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Chappaquiddick Makes You Want to Know What Ted Kennedy Was Really Thinking," 12 Apr. 2018 That primitive uneasiness may still reside in us, arousing our need for a ceremony, some shard activity to bridge the darkest point of the year. Harper's BAZAAR, "How To Cope With Holiday Loneliness," 25 Dec. 2014 Did Prince Harry mix shards of glass with his cocktails? Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Prince Harry Reportedly Gave Up Alcohol for Meghan Markle, and His Family Is Thrilled," 2 Jan. 2019 The stracciatella — a velvety base with shards of chocolate - went into my cone. Lauren Delgado,, "Take a break from steamy summer with cool, creamy gelato," 12 July 2018 Diatomaceous earth feels like a fine powder, but on the microscopic level, each minuscule grain is actually a super-sharp shard that slices and dices through a termite’s hard exoskeleton, eventually causing its death. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Get Rid of Termites," 8 Jan. 2019 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

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

29 Mar 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 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

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

What made you want to look up shard? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of returning to life

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