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

Their dreams were shattered by the tragedies of the first world war and the Great Depression. Edward Carr, 1843, "We apologise for the decay," 29 Aug. 2019 The first is its own fault: In 2015, VW’s reputation was shattered by the revelation that its brass had, for years, knowingly built diesel cars that spewed excessive pollution, and then repeatedly lied about it to regulators. Fortune, "Electric Car Gold Rush: The Auto Industry Charges Into China," 20 Aug. 2019 The avatar was shattered, its jagged pieces irreparable. Jason Parham, WIRED, "When Influencers Switch Platforms—and Bare It All," 19 Aug. 2019 Several flower pots around the memorial were shattered. Mark Kellam, Glendale News-Press, "Musical centering on plights of comfort women, a topic with local significance, opens in Los Angeles," 16 Aug. 2019 The window is shattered, and Edney calls onto his radio that shots were fired. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, "‘He’s not taking my f—— car’: Sonoma sheriff releases video of deputy shooting man who climbed into cop car," 14 Aug. 2019 The toilet in the Port Charlotte residence was shattered into hundreds of pieces, but no one was injured. David Boroff, Anchorage Daily News, "Toilet explodes in Florida home after lightning strikes septic tank," 8 Aug. 2019 Friendships were fixed, hearts were shattered, and the wrestling series eyed an exciting change as the women geared up for the biggest moment in their careers so far. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "Everything you need to remember about GLOW before watching season 3," 8 Aug. 2019 Our hearts are shattered for every family whose parents, children, husbands, and wives were ripped from their arms and their lives., "Transcript: President Trump’s remarks on the shootings in Texas and Ohio," 6 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 At any point, the entire vessel could break off the pipe and shatter. Liz Logan, Smithsonian, "The Spectacle and Drama of Netflix’s New Glassblowing Show Will Shatter Your Expectations," 13 July 2019 In the most basic sense, that’s the first norm that organizing shatters—the isolation of workers from one another. Clio Chang, The New Republic, "How to Save Journalism," 11 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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Learn More about shatter

Statistics for shatter

Last Updated

2 Sep 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).


recurring in steady succession

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