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 shatter (audio) \ adverb

Examples of shatter in a Sentence

Verb 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 Up to 17 inches of rain fell in the county in less than 24 hours Saturday, appearing to shatter the Tennessee record for one-day rainfall by more than 3 inches, the National Weather Service said. CBS News, 23 Aug. 2021 New research has found that extreme heat waves, those that don’t just break records but shatter them, become more common when temperatures change rapidly. Dagomar Degroot, The Conversation, 27 July 2021 Heat, cold, chemicals, salt, and moisture all attack that seemingly solid artificial rock, working to weaken and shatter it from within. Vince Beiser, Wired, 2 July 2021 Police said someone used a rock to shatter a door window at Jack Hille Middle School, 5800 151st St., on Sept. 12, police said. Daily Southtown Staff,, 15 Sep. 2021 For Republicans, a successful recall would not only deal Newsom a devastating defeat but also shatter the entrenched Democratic hegemony in Sacramento. Los Angeles Times, 14 Sep. 2021 Ultimately, Taylor hopes this collection will shatter gender barriers in fashion. Blake Newby, Essence, 11 Sep. 2021 The attacker then smashes a row of ATMs, causing the screens to shatter and spread glass across the carpet. Bradford Betz, Fox News, 18 Aug. 2021 Meanwhile, Portland is on track to shatter its previous record of 70 homicides in 1987. Jack Forrest, oregonlive, 24 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The quaggas have forced fishermen who pride themselves on calloused hands to wear yellow dishwashing gloves to protect them from shells that shatter like shards from a fluorescent light tube. Dan Egan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 13 Aug. 2011 Each shatter-resistant piece is cast with eight to 10 layers of Lucite ® over a 24-hour period before being baked to achieve a seamless, crystal-clear artwork. Kyle Roderick, Forbes, 18 Sep. 2021 Should the party shatter precedent and go it alone to lock down major legislation or focus instead on across-the-aisle cooperation? Clare Foran, CNN, 10 Sep. 2021 But a default would force ratings companies to downgrade US debt and shatter that borrowing advantage. Matt Egan, CNN, 8 Sep. 2021 Never mind that measures to close the gender success gap in labor markets usually benefit white women over women of color, the former having a glass ceiling to shatter, while for the latter, especially Black women, the ceiling is concrete. Kovie Biakolo, Essence, 17 Aug. 2021 Designed to withstand hurricanes and extreme coastal temperatures, the glass in these windows is shatter-resistant and noise-reducing. Maria Masters, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Aug. 2021 His six Fuel comrades went crashing to the stage floor when Lee hit them with an in-person earth shatter. Sean Collins, Dallas News, 9 July 2021 Traffic deaths are on pace to shatter records as well. oregonlive, 12 July 2021

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

Time Traveler for shatter

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near shatter

Shatt al Arab



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Statistics for shatter

Last Updated

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shatter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Oct. 2021.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on shatter

Nglish: Translation of shatter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shatter for Arabic Speakers


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