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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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Not least, a Russian victory in Ukraine would shatter the post-1945 norm against the forcible conquest and annexation of territory, thereby pulling the world back toward vicious anarchy. Hal Brands, The Mercury News, 21 Feb. 2024 But the liberal myth Gray most wants to shatter is that people in the West live in free societies. Helena Rosenblatt, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 As parents we are completely shattered at the loss of our baby boy. Esme Mazzeo, Peoplemag, 18 Feb. 2024 Two shattering boat crashes, more than a year and 100 miles apart in South Florida, share compelling similarities. David Goodhue, Miami Herald, 16 Feb. 2024 Jensen returned with a razor blade mounted to a toothbrush and Creech hit him in the head with the sock weapon, knocking him to the ground and shattering the plastic plate that protected his brain. Kevin Fixler, Idaho Statesman, 15 Feb. 2024 Yockey, a prolific playwright with a noteworthy TV résumé, succeeds by convincingly setting up the ordinary before shattering it with supernatural phenomenon. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 14 Feb. 2024 That shattered last year’s mark of 115.1 million for Kansas City’s last-play victory over Philadelphia and is a 7% increase. USA TODAY, 13 Feb. 2024 But 12 weeks into the pregnancy, their plans were shattered during a routine ultrasound. Meg Tirrell, CNN, 10 Feb. 2024
Perhaps the last 12 months will serve as one of those transitional moments in Hollywood history, a time where the old paradigms shatter and a period of creative resurgence blossoms in their wreckage. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 28 Dec. 2023 The video, obtained by Fox Weather, shows the glass shatter, prompting the family inside to jump out of their seats and scurry away while a man went after the deer. Liza Esquibias, Peoplemag, 20 Nov. 2023 There, a man named William McGuiness heard glass shatter and saw Lopes holding a large rock over his head before Chesna arrived. Ivy Scott,, 8 June 2023 However, in the final hour, the picture formulated for the audience shatters, and something else altogether unveils itself. Aramide Tinubu, Variety, 29 Apr. 2023 Would an asteroid shatter on impact? Alison Klesman, Discover Magazine, 7 Mar. 2019 The heating surface is made of heavy-duty ceramic, covered by shatter-proof, easy-to-clean glass. Theresa Holland, Travel + Leisure, 9 Feb. 2023 Forty shells at a time are packed into trays that are fed into a long oven for a four-hour heat-treating process that helps the steel shatter into small, deadly pieces when the shell explodes. Rebecca Lieberman, New York Times, 2 Feb. 2023 Likewise, Unstoppable Champions can be stunned with Arc blinding, Solar ignitions, Stasis shatter, and Strand suspend. Tom Warren, The Verge, 16 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shatter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 2 Mar. 2024.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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