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 The earth heaved and branches snapped as shrapnel ripped through the forest. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, 7 June 2022 The two were waiting to launch an ambush on a Russian tank when shrapnel hit Mr. McCaffery in the face and collapsed a concrete block wall on Mr. Gray, injuring his leg, according to Twitter posts by an American journalist, Nolan Peterson. New York Times, 29 Apr. 2022 Except that his plastic visor had several cracks — from where shrapnel hit it. Washington Post, 15 Apr. 2022 On his 20th mission over an air armaments factory in Germany he was shot down and wounded when shrapnel pierced his helmet. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Mar. 2022 Maksim was so close that shrapnel from the first RPG round struck the back of his skull. Scott Peterson, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 Mar. 2022 That was when Nunez was hurt, a shrapnel wound above his right knee, during the second volley of shots. Brock Blasdell, The Arizona Republic, 17 Feb. 2022 For 70 years, John Kost has carried a metal shard below his right knee, shrapnel from a bomb blast suffered while serving with the U.S. Army in Korea in 1951. Bob P. Brown,, 22 Nov. 2021 In one engagement Thursday and Friday in a forest north of the town of Slovyansk, a dozen Ukrainian soldiers were hospitalized with shrapnel wounds after a nearby Ukrainian artillery unit was outgunned by a Russian mortar crew. Andrew E. Kramer,, 28 May 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of shrapnel was in 1806

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Last Updated

1 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Shrapnel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for shrapnel


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

More from Merriam-Webster on shrapnel

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


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