plural noun
smith·​er·​eens | \ ˌsmi-t͟hə-ˈrēnz How to pronounce smithereens (audio) \

Definition of smithereens

: fragments, bits the house was blown to smithereens by the explosion

Did You Know?

Despite its American sound and its common use by the fiery animated cartoon character Yosemite Sam, smithereens did not originate in American slang. Although no one is entirely positive about its precise origins, scholars think that smithereens likely developed from the Irish word smidiríní, which means "little bits." That Irish word is the diminutive of smiodar, meaning "fragment." According to print evidence, the plural form smithereens first appears in English in the late 18th century; use of singular smithereen then follows.

First Known Use of smithereens

1795, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for smithereens

perhaps from Irish smidiríní

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The first known use of smithereens was in 1795

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Last Updated

28 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Smithereens.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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How to pronounce smithereens (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of smithereens

informal : small broken pieces : tiny bits


noun plural
smith·​er·​eens | \ ˌsmi-t͟hə-ˈrēnz How to pronounce smithereens (audio) \

Kids Definition of smithereens

: small broken pieces The target was blown to smithereens.

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Spanish Central: Translation of smithereens

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