shat·​ter | \ ˈsha-tər How to pronounce shatter (audio) \
shattered; shattering; shatters

Definition of shatter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cause to drop or be dispersed
2a : to break at once into pieces
b : to damage badly : ruin
3 : to cause the disruption or annihilation of : demolish

intransitive verb

1 : to break apart : disintegrate
2 : to drop off parts (such as leaves, petals, or fruit)



Definition of shatter (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : fragment, shred usually used in plural the broken vase lay in shatters
2 : an act of shattering : the state of being shattered
3 : a result of shattering : shower

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Other Words from shatter


shatteringly \ ˈsha-​tə-​riŋ-​lē How to pronounce shatteringly (audio) \ adverb

Examples of shatter in a Sentence


The rock shattered the window. His dreams were shattered by their rejection. The end of his marriage shattered him emotionally.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

His weight is a concern, of course, because the nervous Nellie and Nelsons of my profession are worried that Murray is going to shatter on impact with the first defensive lineman or linebacker who happens to hit him squarely. Greg Moore, azcentral, "Forget what you know about Kyler Murray. Size doesn't matter in the NFL," 31 Aug. 2019 On a night in which Mike Trout matched the MLB lead with his career-best 42nd homer, the two-home run streak adds just another milestone in a season in which multiple deep ball records have been shattered. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "MLB has seen 37 consecutive days in which at least one player hits two home runs in game," 16 Aug. 2019 His squad car was immediately peppered with bullets that shattered his windshield, and struck him in the abdomen and leg. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "Remembering Jake Laird, the officer whose death inspired Indiana's 'red flag' law," 7 Aug. 2019 There was a candor, a humility, a groundedness to the conversation that shattered all expectations. Brandon Uranowitz, Town & Country, "Legendary Broadway Director Hal Prince Remembered For His "Immovable Reverence for Talent"," 5 Aug. 2019 In that way, the film’s creative team has picked a curiously small patch of ground to plant their story on, leaving one with a feeling of surface-level calm that is shattered whenever the animals do anything their real-life counterparts can’t. John Wenzel, The Know, "“The Lion King” review: Disney’s CGI remake finds only fleeting beauty," 11 July 2019 Elden Ring, written in conjunction with Game of Thrones mastermind George R.R. Martin, appears to be set in a dark fantasy world, where a mystical object called the Elden Ring has been shattered, casting the world into chaos. Evan Lewis,, "E3 2019 highlights: The 15 best announcements, trailers, and games," 14 June 2019 Miscellany MLB has new home run record Major League Baseball shattered the record for most home runs in a season., "Jones on All-WNBA first team team," 12 Sep. 2019 Tahnee Lightfoot, a spokeswoman for the police department, said in a statement that officers arriving at the scene heard the sound of glass shattering nearby. Andy Nguyen, Glendale News-Press, "DNA evidence links Glendale burglary to Compton man, police say," 12 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The woman heard the glass shatter and the car horn go off and ran back inside her house. Sarah Horner, Twin Cities, "St. Paul man charged with attempted murder after shooting acquaintance in back of the head, charges say," 13 Sep. 2019 Nobody is hurt in the explosion, but more than 100 windows in the neighborhood shatter. J.k. Dineen,, "U.S. government sues to evict couple from $15 million Presidio Heights mansion," 17 July 2019 David's simmering panic becomes palpable, taking the form of destruction: light fixtures burst, decorations crumble, a disco ball shatters. Wired, "David Makes Man Invents a Doorway to a New Kind of TV," 28 Aug. 2019 Teens who used a concentrated form of marijuana — sometimes called dabs, wax, shatter or crumble — are more likely to also use other drugs than kids who avoid marijuana, a new study suggests. Linda Carroll, NBC News, "Teens who use concentrated marijuana more likely to use other drugs," 26 Aug. 2019 So a customer might get his or her hands on some highly potent shatter, which can have well over 50 percent THC, only to lose flavor and other crucial aspects. Mike Adams,, "What are the benefits of full-spectrum cannabis extracts?," 20 Aug. 2019 Remove the pan and hit the wax with something blunt (such as the handle of a dinner knife) to make the wax shatter, then vacuum up the pieces. Heloise, Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Educational partnership," 19 Aug. 2019 His confrontational paper on Fanon shatters that charming image for Wilson. David Sims, The Atlantic, "A Flawed Thriller About the Myth of the ‘Model Immigrant’," 5 Aug. 2019 The deputy approaches the door, lifts his weapon and the glass shatters. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, "A bodycam caught a deputy shooting a man in his South Carolina home. It contradicts the initial police narrative," 30 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shatter.' 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 shatter


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


circa 1640, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shatter


Middle English schateren — more at scatter

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Learn More about shatter

Statistics for shatter

Last Updated

14 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shatter

The first known use of shatter was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for shatter



English Language Learners Definition of shatter

: to break suddenly into many small pieces
: to damage (something) very badly


shat·​ter | \ ˈsha-tər How to pronounce shatter (audio) \
shattered; shattering

Kids Definition of shatter

1 : to break or fall to pieces The window shattered.
2 : to destroy or damage badly The news shattered our hopes.

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More from Merriam-Webster on shatter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shatter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shatter

Spanish Central: Translation of shatter

Nglish: Translation of shatter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shatter for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shatter

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