\ 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

The skyscraper boasts an annealed glass exterior with 10,000 glass panels that have been cooled slowly to reduce internal stress, meaning the glass shouldn't break into shards if it is struck. Karen Matthews, The Christian Science Monitor, "Three World Trade Center marks important step in site's rebuilding," 11 June 2018 Within the structure, archaeologists also discovered shards of ceramic and an incense burner. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Earthquake Reveals 12th-Century Temple Hidden Within Aztec Pyramid," 12 July 2018 Sections of Venice Boulevard, like many streets across the city, can be filled with potholes, debris from collisions or broken shards of glass. Mark Potts,, "LeBron James likes to bike to work. We tested his route — and it’s dangerous," 9 July 2018 The boy had a history of kicking holes in the wall, pulling knives and, when the family started hiding potential weapons, breaking light bulbs to get shards of glass to use to cut himself, Timion said. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz,, "10 years after federal law to protect insurance coverage of mental illness, advocates question if it's working," 5 Apr. 2018 The novel was a way to describe all these shards of conversation, of complaint and different reactions. Tobias Grey, New York Times, "A War Reporter Finds Refuge by Switching to Fiction," 8 Mar. 2018 Anyone standing near a window would be killed by a hurricane of glass shards. Daily Intelligencer, "This Is What a Nuclear Bomb Looks Like," 12 June 2018 This violent collision emits a mixture of glass shards and a corrosive substance on par with battery acid, to the peril of anyone downwind. Nsikan Akpan, Scientific American, "Kilauea’s Lava Is Now Spilling into the Ocean. Here’s Why That’s Dangerous," 22 May 2018 Sources reportedly told the outlet that Avicii, whose real name is Tim Bergling, committed suicide by cutting himself with a shard of glass from a broken wine bottle. Morgan M. Evans, Fox News, "Avicii reportedly committed suicide with broken glass bottle," 1 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

13 Sep 2018

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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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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).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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