1 of 2


splin·​ter ˈsplin-tər How to pronounce splinter (audio)
: a thin piece split or broken off lengthwise : sliver
: a small needlelike particle
: a group or faction broken away from a parent body
splinter adjective
splintery adjective


2 of 2


splintered; splintering ˈsplin-tə-riŋ How to pronounce splinter (audio)

transitive verb

: to split or rend into long thin pieces : shiver
: to split into fragments, parts, or factions

Examples of splinter in a Sentence

Noun I got a splinter in my finger. There were splinters of glass everywhere. Verb The board splintered under his weight. The impact of the crash splintered the glass. groups that have splintered off to form new political movements a political party that has been splintered by disagreements See More
Recent Examples on the Web
It’s made from a canvas material and is propped up by wood poles that are sanded down to prevent them from getting splinters. Nor'adila Hepburn, Southern Living, 17 Nov. 2023 If the shelf weakens and splinters into icebergs, the dam will break, and the ice sheet on land will accelerate its slide into the ocean. WIRED, 27 Oct. 2023 In a swath of Gaza City's Yarmouk neighborhood reduced to splinters, a bleeding man hugged a child after both were dug out of the rubble. Compiled By Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 26 Oct. 2023 Wear them while weeding, raking, planting, thatching, and scooping debris into yard waste bags to avoid punctures, scratches, splinters, and dirty fingernails. Stephanie Osmanski, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 Oct. 2023 Other important features to consider are smooth surfaces that won't cause pinching, scraping, or splinters. Ashley Ziegler, Parents, 16 Oct. 2023 Florida's controversial new African American history standards have stirred up strong reactions among political leaders, even leading to splinters within the Republican party in Florida. Kinsey Crowley, USA TODAY, 1 Aug. 2023 Even the firsthand accounts gathered from eyewitnesses and survivors are mere splinters from the great wreckage of humanity in the Europe of the 1940s. Fintan O’Toole, The New York Review of Books, 20 July 2023 But millions in Morocco felt the planet shake and splinter, jolt and disintegrate, before thousands of the most unfortunate were greeted by tectonic rage. Robin George Andrews, The Atlantic, 10 Sep. 2023
House Republicans, who are in the majority, are splintered about whether the U.S. should send more aid to Ukraine, while support for it is broader within the Democratic Party. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, 20 Nov. 2023 The bullet shattered the back of his skull, splintering it into 36 pieces. Liz Szabo, CBS News, 6 Nov. 2023 The cockpit is edged in Kevlar, which won’t splinter like the carbon-fiber hull if there’s a crash. Michael Verdon, Robb Report, 28 Sep. 2023 The new date coincides with the time when Nuna began to splinter, thinning along the geologic sutures where earlier continents had collided, Dr. Olierook said. Maya Wei-Haas, New York Times, 19 Sep. 2023 This, even after the PA signed a unification agreement with Hamas, which ruled Gaza but was splintered from the government. The Editors, National Review, 7 Nov. 2023 While the nones’ diversity splinters them into myriad subgroups, most of them have this in common: They. Peter Smith, Fortune, 5 Oct. 2023 Even Republicans supporting Jordan acknowledge that the ongoing chaos has splintered the conference. Grace Segers, The New Republic, 17 Oct. 2023 And the left is likely to splinter, as some of its members come to see talking about the role of Israeli policies in bolstering and emboldening Hamas as justifying the attacks. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, 13 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'splinter.' 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, from Middle Dutch; akin to Middle Low German splinte splint

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1582, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of splinter was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near splinter

Cite this Entry

“Splinter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/splinter. Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
splin·​ter ˈsplint-ər How to pronounce splinter (audio)
: a thin piece split or torn off lengthwise : sliver
splinter adjective


2 of 2 verb
splintered; splintering ˈsplint-ə-riŋ How to pronounce splinter (audio)
: to divide or break into splinters

Medical Definition


splin·​ter ˈsplint-ər How to pronounce splinter (audio)
: a thin piece (as of wood) split or broken off lengthwise
especially : such a piece embedded in the skin
used tweezers to remove a splinter
splinter transitive verb
splintered; splintering ˈsplint-ə-riŋ, ˈsplin-triŋ How to pronounce splinter (audio)

More from Merriam-Webster on splinter

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