shrap·​nel | \ ˈshrap-nᵊl How to pronounce shrapnel (audio) , especially Southern ˈsrap-\
plural shrapnel

Definition of shrapnel

1 : a projectile that consists of a case provided with a powder charge and a large number of usually lead balls and that is exploded in flight
2 : bomb, mine, or shell fragments

Examples of shrapnel in a Sentence

He has a piece of shrapnel in his leg. Shrapnel from the explosion wounded many people.

Recent Examples on the Web

On June 29, shrapnel from exploding shells damaged water pipelines near the town of Horlivka, along the Siverski Donets-Donbass channel, which supplies water to more than 3 million people on both sides of the contact line, UNICEF said. Radina Gigova, CNN, "Fighting in Ukraine threatens water supply for 3.2 million," 3 July 2019 One oar rocketed away, like shrapnel from a bomb blast, vanishing in whitewater spray downriver. Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, "A run through Colorado’s Yampa whitewater reveals the wildness that remains. But will the West’s rivers survive urban demands?," 23 June 2019 Much of the shrapnel will remain there for decades, until Earth's gravity drags it out of orbit. Jackie Wattles, CNN, "Managing traffic in space is difficult and dangerous. Here's how we could make it better," 13 Sep. 2019 De La Herran was also injured during the incident by a piece of shrapnel to the head, CNN reported. Kynala Phillips, Essence, "Three People Killed At California Festival By 19-year-old Gunman," 29 July 2019 There was a piece of shrapnel had gone into my neck. CBS News, "NCIS probe of U.S. Marine's attempted murder in Kuwait reveals a conspiracy of secrets and lies," 5 June 2019 The girl, who actually turns 9 in late September, was hit with shrapnel in the face and leg after a gunman opened fire on worshipers at Chabad of Poway in April. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Young girl wounded in synagogue shooting celebrates her 9th birthday," 25 Aug. 2019 Miller was eventually drafted and served as a medic in the Vietnam War, where he was hit in the head with shrapnel that caused permanent brain injuries. NBC News, "Woman claims Omaha priest forced her to give up baby for adoption," 20 Aug. 2019 A year earlier, a pressure cooker packed with shrapnel exploded in Chelsea on 23rd Street, injuring at least 29 people. Michael Gold, New York Times, "Rice Cookers That Prompted Bomb Scare in Subway Investigated as ‘Hoax Devices’," 16 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shrapnel.' 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 shrapnel

1806, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shrapnel

Henry Shrapnel †1842 English artillery officer

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Statistics for shrapnel

Last Updated

5 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for shrapnel

The first known use of shrapnel was in 1806

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English Language Learners Definition of shrapnel

: small metal pieces that scatter outwards from an exploding bomb, shell, or mine


shrap·​nel | \ ˈshrap-nᵊl How to pronounce shrapnel (audio) \

Kids Definition of shrapnel

: small metal pieces that scatter outwards from an exploding bomb, shell, or mine

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More from Merriam-Webster on shrapnel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shrapnel

Spanish Central: Translation of shrapnel

Nglish: Translation of shrapnel for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about shrapnel

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