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 shatteringly (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 bullet missed her head, but shattered her back windshield and punctured the steering wheel. Lisa J. Huriash,, "This 911 caller had just missed a deadly bullet. She was stunned when cops wouldn’t come.," 6 Nov. 2019 LNJ Foxwoods’ Covfefe shattered Pimlico’s 6-furlong track record winning the Adena Springs Miss Preakness) by 8 ½ lengths in 1:07.70 May 17, and followed up two races later with an equally impressive triumph in the 7-furlong Test at Saratoga. Baltimore Sun Staff,, "St. Frances maintains lock on No. 1 prep football spot in state," 23 Oct. 2019 The bullet shattered Ventura’s spine and severed his spinal cord. Harriet Sokmensuer,, "Calif. Man Visiting N.C. for Friend's Wedding Is Paralyzed After Drive-By Nightclub Shooting," 22 Oct. 2019 And Friday’s low of 9 degrees shattered the prior record of 22 set in 1946, the weather service said. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Denver weather: Cold front breaks not one, but two record lows overnight," 11 Oct. 2019 The blasts shattered the beery euphoria of Oktoberfest and left many on Sunday wondering what caused them. Daily Pilot, "After blasts injure five at Old World in Huntington Beach, investigators look for cause," 7 Oct. 2019 Footage of the aftermath was posted on Facebook; several windows were shattered and the whole right side of the van is badly damaged. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee band Dead Horses' van totaled, slammed by hit-and-run driver," 14 Sep. 2019 Backgrounds shatter and fragment; the hospital room briefly transforms into a speeding train car. Judy Berman, Time, "Undone, From the Team Behind BoJack Horseman, Is the Perfect Sci-Fi Series for 2019," 9 Sep. 2019 The assailant’s blows shattered her jaw in multiple places and fractured her skull, according to the woman and police. oregonlive, "Transgender woman beaten over bathroom use on Oregon coast is healing, flourishing," 5 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The woman heard the glass shatter and the car horn go off and ran back inside her house. Sarah Horner, Twin Cities, "St. Paul man charged with attempted murder after shooting acquaintance in back of the head, charges say," 13 Sep. 2019 Nobody is hurt in the explosion, but more than 100 windows in the neighborhood shatter. J.k. Dineen,, "U.S. government sues to evict couple from $15 million Presidio Heights mansion," 17 July 2019 David's simmering panic becomes palpable, taking the form of destruction: light fixtures burst, decorations crumble, a disco ball shatters. Wired, "David Makes Man Invents a Doorway to a New Kind of TV," 28 Aug. 2019 Teens who used a concentrated form of marijuana — sometimes called dabs, wax, shatter or crumble — are more likely to also use other drugs than kids who avoid marijuana, a new study suggests. Linda Carroll, NBC News, "Teens who use concentrated marijuana more likely to use other drugs," 26 Aug. 2019 So a customer might get his or her hands on some highly potent shatter, which can have well over 50 percent THC, only to lose flavor and other crucial aspects. Mike Adams,, "What are the benefits of full-spectrum cannabis extracts?," 20 Aug. 2019 Remove the pan and hit the wax with something blunt (such as the handle of a dinner knife) to make the wax shatter, then vacuum up the pieces. Heloise, Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Educational partnership," 19 Aug. 2019 His confrontational paper on Fanon shatters that charming image for Wilson. David Sims, The Atlantic, "A Flawed Thriller About the Myth of the ‘Model Immigrant’," 5 Aug. 2019 The deputy approaches the door, lifts his weapon and the glass shatters. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, "A bodycam caught a deputy shooting a man in his South Carolina home. It contradicts the initial police narrative," 30 July 2019

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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Statistics for shatter

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for shatter

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on shatter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shatter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


to speed up the process or progress of

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