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 pluralthe 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 The announcement comes nearly a week after the agency authorized Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine and amid a scary time for the country, as infection numbers, hospitalizations and daily death tolls continue to shatter records. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "FDA prepares to OK a second vaccine as Covid-19 deaths top 40,000 this month," 18 Dec. 2020 The pandemic is continuing to shatter records and take lives. Mola Lenghi, CBS News, ""I can feel relief now": U.S. administers first doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine," 15 Dec. 2020 The prized Italian white truffle continues to shatter records. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "‘The Mozart of fungi’: For ages, truffle hunting has been one of the most challenging pursuits on earth. Then the pandemic hit," 12 Dec. 2020 Morale in the labs has flagged as the country continues to shatter records for caseloads, hospitalizations and deaths. New York Times, "‘Nobody Sees Us’: Testing-Lab Workers Strain Under Demand," 3 Dec. 2020 Despite the pandemic, Minnesota, like much of the rest of the nation, seems on track to shatter voter turnout records. Patrick Condon, Star Tribune, "As time runs out, campaigns scour Minnesota for votes," 2 Nov. 2020 On the season, Smith has an offensive rating of 119.7, which would easily shatter his previous career-high of 106.8. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Point guard Mike Smith proving he's a great fit for Michigan basketball," 2 Jan. 2021 Seattle is allowing a league-worst 362 yards per game passing, on pace to shatter the NFL record for most passing yards allowed in a season. Mark Heim |, al, "Rams vs. Bills live stream (11/29): How to watch NFL Week 12 online, TV, time," 29 Nov. 2020 But those conversations are muted at least slightly by the reality that a positive coronarivus test or two could shatter the postseason dreams of any team, no matter how good. Buddy Collings,, "Orlando area high school basketball teams must beat COVID-19 to win big," 19 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun They are drawn partly by the prospect of bringing a little normalcy to their lives in a place where coronavirus restrictions have been more relaxed than at home, even as cases of Covid-19 shatter records. New York Times, "Fleeing Lockdown, Americans Are Flocking to Mexico City," 2 Jan. 2021 They are drawn partly by the prospect of bringing a little normalcy to their lives in a place where coronavirus restrictions have been more relaxed than at home, even as cases of COVID-19 shatter records. Oscar Lopez,, "Fleeing lockdown, Americans are flocking to Mexico City," 2 Jan. 2021 The Cybertruck’s unique styling, including its stainless steel body and shatter-proof windows, are eye-catching to say the least. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Tesla Cybertruck, Ford Bronco, Jeep Wagoneer among 2021's most anticipated new vehicles," 1 Jan. 2021 WinRed was created to counter the Democratic online donation platform ActBlue, which helped shatter fundraising records in some Senate campaigns ahead of 2020's general election. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Republicans raise $804M in two months for Georgia runoffs: WinRed," 4 Dec. 2020 The glass travel vial is durable and shatter-resistant. Sian Babish,, "Seed Probiotics review: Can this shelf-stable probiotic subscription improve gut function?," 7 Nov. 2020 Amid the hilarity, the profundity, and the audacity, hypocrisies and orthodoxies shatter. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Sixty-two Films That Shaped the Art of Documentary Filmmaking," 14 Oct. 2020 That controversy and the trauma of being publicly assaulted shatter Jess’s confidence and send her into a long period of anxious isolation. Washington Post, "Scott O’Connor’s ‘Zero Zone’ is a sophisticated thriller about the power of art," 5 Oct. 2020 My heart’s rough gem, calcified, fossil of some long-ago feeling— shatter-ready and stubborn. Vandana Khanna, The New Republic, "The Suitors Demand an Audience," 25 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for shatter

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for shatter

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shatter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for shatter


How to pronounce shatter (audio)

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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