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

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

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


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

Example Sentences

Verb The rock shattered the window. His dreams were shattered by their rejection. The end of his marriage shattered him emotionally.
Recent Examples on the Web
No one raises a voice to shatter the illusion that all is well — until the unannounced arrival of Bill and Venida’s daughter, Patti (Anna Camp), with her young, mostly uncommunicative daughter, Hadley (Billie Roy). Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Jan. 2023 The Westford Academy distance medley relay — Jack Graffeo, Owen Schultz, Austin DeSisto, and Paul Bergeron — ran a 10:24.08 to shatter Xaverian’s meet record (10:26.00) set in 2006. Mike Puzzanghera,, 21 Jan. 2023 But as games have evolved in complexity and maturity, the barrier seems to be getting thinner, like a fungus-encrusted zombie’s fragile skull just waiting for a brick to shatter it. K. Thor Jensen, PCMAG, 13 Jan. 2023 In the essay that lends its title to the book, Ramsey recounts efforts to shatter that silence. Joan Gaylord, The Christian Science Monitor, 12 Jan. 2023 But Spare is nevertheless an astonishingly rare confessional and the only one to shatter the mystique on this generation of royal life. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, 11 Jan. 2023 After breaking at least one large glass pane, Bolsonaro’s supporters used metal police barricades to attempt to shatter additional panes of the Supreme Court. Leo Sands, Washington Post, 10 Jan. 2023 Tennessee’s Ryan Stonehouse is poised to shatter an NFL record that has stood for more than eight decades. Mark Heim |, al, 7 Jan. 2023 Behind that punk edifice was a woman who knew enough about tradition to shatter it. Véronique Hyland, ELLE, 3 Jan. 2023
The containers are durable, shatter-proof, and air-tight to keep products fresh. Lauren Taylor, Better Homes & Gardens, 10 Jan. 2023 If anything, in his novel, templates shatter easily and quickly. Gal Beckerman, The Atlantic, 19 Dec. 2022 Tajikistan is the poorest of the 15 former Soviet republics, all of which emerged out of the shatter zone of empires. Anna Sherman Maxime Fossat, New York Times, 3 Nov. 2022 Other players are confused about similar mechanics that continue to exist like well/shatter skating, if fast movement is such a problem. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 5 Oct. 2022 Baby rice is hull-less, which means its softer hulls shatter into smaller pieces that are gentler on the teeth. From Contributors And Staff, Journal Sentinel, 1 Dec. 2022 District officials across the region are asking voters to approve school bond packages that would pay for modern door locks, additional surveillance cameras, shatter-resistant window film and other measures aimed at keeping children safer. Dallas News, 25 Oct. 2022 Acrylic weighs less and is shatter-resistant; glass is generally much more affordable. Laura Daily, Washington Post, 12 Dec. 2022 The Yonder products were strategically engineered to be lightweight and virtually shatter-resistant with a leak-proof cap. Shelley E. Kohan, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History



Middle English schateren — more at scatter

First Known Use


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


circa 1640, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near shatter

Cite this Entry

“Shatter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


: to break or fall to pieces
the window shattered
: to damage badly : ruin, wreck
the bad news will shatter their morale

More from Merriam-Webster on shatter

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