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

Models Halima Aden, Ikram Abdi Omar, and Amina Adan were shot by Txema Yeste and styled by Vogue Arabia fashion director, Katie Trotter with a focus on shattering stereotypes associated with modest fashion and muslim women. Scarlett Newman, Teen Vogue, "Vogue Arabia Makes History Puts Three Black Hijabi Models on the Cover," 28 Mar. 2019 However, Tuesday’s vote reopened a tortuous debate that governments had hoped to avoid over what fresh concessions, if any, to offer Mrs. May without shattering the bloc’s unity. Laurence Norman, WSJ, "U.K. Parliament’s Rejection of Brexit Deal Puts European Union in a Bind," 16 Jan. 2019 AXUM Gear True Wireless Earbuds $150 (over 45 percent off) After shattering their Indiegogo funding goals, these earbuds won over exercise enthusiasts who don’t want to sacrifice sound quality for a sweat-proof design. Popular Mechanics, "Get Deep Black Friday Discounts on These 10 Headphones and Earbuds," 15 Nov. 2018 Arizona, long an emblem of conservatism, also has a history of shattering stereotypes about women in power. Li Zhou, Vox, "Martha McSally is the rare Republican woman putting gender at the forefront of her campaign," 29 Aug. 2018 What's the point of shattering the glass on a door that also has metal bars? Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Hidden Clues from the New "Riverdale" Season 3 Trailer That You Probably Missed," 29 Aug. 2018 And just as important to Fromberg as shattering stereotypes is getting the point across that pubic hair isn’t dirty or unhygienic. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "The Full Bush Is the New Brazilian! How to Transition Like a Pro," 27 July 2018 The ball inside would knock about, shattering the quiet night. Anthony J. Rivera, Washington Post, "Living D.C. graffiti legend went from rowdy thug to art teacher," 28 June 2018 Down, out this Friday, will do a good job of shattering any lingering childhood illusions of vegetarian sharks or musical crustaceans., "These Terrifying Movies Will Ruin Your Beach Vacation," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Without the bread slices smothering the shatter and snap of bacon and lettuce, there’s a lot more crunch. Melissa Clark, The Seattle Times, "The BLT gets a taco makeover," 28 Aug. 2018 She is driven enough to show up at work with glass in her hair after a drive-by shooting shatters her car window and driven enough to lie when her technology can’t match her vision. Laura Vanderkam, WSJ, "What to Give: Business Books," 15 Nov. 2018 The wealthy are paying a fairer share of taxes even as the stock market shatters records. Michael Sebastian, Town & Country, "Here's the Full Transcript of Obama's Farewell Address," 11 Jan. 2017 Each of these, individually, shatters longstanding norms about how the president is supposed to talk and think about the Department of Justice. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "We aren’t alarmed enough about Jeff Sessions’s firing," 8 Nov. 2018 Viewers are meant to feel it viscerally every time a nose shatters or a rib cracks. Noah Berlatsky, The Verge, "Daredevil’s ‘suffering makes a man’ trope is common, familiar, and bad for everyone," 24 Oct. 2018 But, when a revelation unearths Martin’s ultimate transgressions, his American Dream shatters. Kt Hawbaker,, "Interrobang, now in residence at Rivendell Theatre, announces 2018-19 season," 29 June 2018 Life stories have coherence, Schmelzer writes, and trauma shatters that coherence. Judith Newman, New York Times, "Adversity Needn’t Thwart or Define You. Here’s How to Cope.," 6 July 2018 When Windows breaks, the whole world hears the shatter. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "The Elite Microsoft Hacker Team That Keeps Windows PCs Safe," 10 June 2018

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

13 May 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

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


using a distributed computer network

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