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ˈshred How to pronounce shred (audio)
 especially Southern  ˈsred
: a long narrow strip cut or torn off
shreds plural : a shredded, damaged, or ruined condition
a reputation torn to shreds
: particle, scrap
not a shred of evidence


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shredded; shredding; shreds
transitive : to cut or tear (something) into shreds
shredded the documents
transitive : demolish sense 2
… sharp lawyers shredding hapless witnesses on live television …Charles Krauthammer
intransitive : to come apart in or break into shreds
The cloth had shredded.
intransitive : to ski or engage in a board sport (such as snowboarding, skateboarding, or surfing) with exceptional skill
At its regular meeting Monday, the Cullman City Council signed off on constructing a place where skateboarders can … shred … and ollie to their hearts' content.Benjamin Bullard
transitive : to shred on (a surface)
For fans of snow sports, Beach Mountain Resort, Sugar Mountain Resort and Appalachian Ski Mountain offer sweet powdery slopes to shred.Luke Weir
At one point, Paul was thought by many to be the best surfer on the planet, a guy who had the rare ability to totally shred waves with radical moves and yet do it very gracefully and with a beautiful flowing style.Corky Carroll
transitive + intransitive : to play an electric guitar with great skill and speed
She shreds on guitar and has the voice of an angel.Rachel Stone
… this child musician has to be able to shred the guitar at an adult, professional level.Kerry Clawson
transitive archaic : to cut off
shredder noun

Examples of shred in a Sentence

Noun The wallpaper is in shreds. His reputation was in shreds after the arrest. He struggled to retain a shred of his dignity. Verb Shred the cabbage and add it to the salad. shredded some cooked chicken for the soup
Recent Examples on the Web
We will be called every derogatory name imaginable, for having the temerity to vote our conscience, and desire our preferred candidate to have a shred of integrity and decency. Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review, 2 Nov. 2023 There is not a shred of doubt that these blatant acts of aggression fit the legal criteria of war crimes. Foreign Affairs, 27 Oct. 2023 To grow in the early days, Cameo started recruiting anyone with a shred of fame to its platform, taking a 25 percent cut of videos that cost fans as much as $3,000. Sapna Maheshwari, New York Times, 20 Oct. 2023 Sign up Every law of war, every superhero ethos, every shred of common sense and basic decency tells us that the good guys are the ones who don’t kill children. Chris Cannon, The New Republic, 18 Oct. 2023 There’s not a shred of trash anywhere, like from a normal show. Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 11 Oct. 2023 These small shreds of plastic were found around Becky Bliefnick's body. Erin Moriarty, CBS News, 30 Sep. 2023 Most of what has been discovered are bone fragments, teeth and shreds of clothing. Pascale Bonnefoy, New York Times, 30 Aug. 2023 The small forward who went from fighting for minutes four years ago to one of the most beloved players in UCLA basketball history doesn’t harbor a shred of anxiety about making it in the NBA. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 16 June 2023
Refrigerate shredded chicken and pork in airtight containers until ready to add to recipe in Step 3. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 17 Nov. 2023 Ingredients 1 small head green cabbage, cored, quartered, and finely shredded 1 oz. Jonathan Miles, Field & Stream, 15 Nov. 2023 And stopping extremists from shredding women’s reproductive rights. Laura Vozzella, Washington Post, 13 Nov. 2023 April 18 - Fox News reaches a last-second settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, paying more than $787 million to end a two-year legal battle that publicly shredded the network’s credibility. CNN, 13 Nov. 2023 The unconvincing smile was meant to protect a fragile spirit that shredded when her Achilles did, robbing her of the storybook ending her novel career deserved. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 13 Nov. 2023 In 2021, German company Singer Vehicle Design transformed a 1990 911 into an off-roading savage that could easily shred pavement or win the Baja 1000. Morgan Korn, ABC News, 29 Oct. 2023 Landscape fabric releases microplastics into the environment and eventually shreds. Nan Sterman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Nov. 2023 Parmesan cheese, shredded (about 2/3 cup) 2 bacon slices, cooked and chopped Directions Prepare green beans: Preheat oven to 450°F. Jasmine Smith, Southern Living, 23 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shred.' 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 shrede, from Old English scrēade; akin to Old High German scrōt piece cut off

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of shred was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near shred

Cite this Entry

“Shred.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a long narrow piece cut or torn off : scrap
shreds of cloth
plural : a shredded, damaged, or ruined condition
the loss tore his confidence to shreds
reputation was in shreds
: a small amount : bit
not a shred of evidence


2 of 2 verb
shredded; shredding
: to cut or tear into shreds
shred paper
shred cabbage
shredder noun

More from Merriam-Webster on shred

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