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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
One of her hopes is that the community mural will shatter any negative stereotypes people may have about the city. Deidre Montague, Hartford Courant, 16 Nov. 2022 The 128-page book uses publicly available data from leading government sources to shatter much of the conventional wisdom on economics. Brian Riedl, National Review, 8 Nov. 2022 Like Shapiro, Rosie Jane Johnston also set out to shatter the stereotypes with the release of Dulce, the newest fragrance from her brand, By/Rosie Jane. Rachel Krause, Allure, 8 Nov. 2022 Russia has also used disinformation, its muscle in energy markets and its control over Ukrainian food exports in an effort to shatter Western unity over support for Ukraine. Robyn Dixon, Washington Post, 7 Nov. 2022 Claudia refuses him entrance, and Louis punctuates her decision by tossing Lestat's coffin out the window to shatter on the pavement. Sara Netzley,, 7 Nov. 2022 Between January and August of this year, the American Library Association recorded 681 challenges against 1,651 books, setting a pace to shatter last year’s record 729 challenges. Martha Hickson, CNN, 31 Oct. 2022 But Ann is determined to shatter that glass ceiling. A.a. Dowd, Chron, 28 Oct. 2022 As the afternoon went on, Bilyard accepted a bat and used it to shatter a portion of a window on the Capitol building, crawling through that window into the building. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 21 Oct. 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 Made from shatter-resistant BPA-free material, the Yonder forgoes the weight of their stainless-steel insulation and is meant for those who are prioritizing portability over keeping their beverage cold or hot. Danny Perez, Popular Mechanics, 9 Nov. 2022 Baby Freddy rips his way out, crawling onto a pedestal, shrieking so loud the windows shatter. Michael Lee Simpson,, 15 Oct. 2022 While Russian units all across Ukraine shatter under pressure from the Ukrainian counteroffensives, the 76th GAAD has stood its ground. David Axe, Forbes, 10 Oct. 2022 Research on highly concentrated products — which are also referred to as wax, resin or shatter — is still limited in the U.S., primarily because the federal government strictly regulates cannabis research. Hannah Furfaro, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Oct. 2022 Our expert testers spent an entire day putting glass and plastic containers through a series of splash, wash, and shatter tests, evaluating each one based on its durability and design. Laura (fisher) Matta, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 Sep. 2022 Glass can break or shatter, so plastic is safer in that aspect. Barbara Bellesi Zito, Peoplemag, 27 Sep. 2022 But as temperatures soar and records shatter, summer has become just as dangerous as the freezing winters in Salt Lake City, which have also killed members of the homeless community here. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Sep. 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 7 Dec. 2022.

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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