1 of 2


frag·​ment ˈfrag-mənt How to pronounce fragment (audio)
: a part broken off, detached, or incomplete
The dish lay in fragments on the floor.


2 of 2


frag·​ment ˈfrag-ˌment How to pronounce fragment (audio)
fragmented; fragmenting; fragments

intransitive verb

: to fall to pieces

transitive verb

: to break up or apart into fragments
Choose the Right Synonym for fragment

part, portion, piece, member, division, section, segment, fragment mean something less than the whole.

part is a general term appropriate when indefiniteness is required.

they ran only part of the way

portion implies an assigned or allotted part.

cut the pie into six portions

piece applies to a separate or detached part of a whole.

a puzzle with 500 pieces

member suggests one of the functional units composing a body.

a structural member

division applies to a large or diversified part.

the manufacturing division of the company

section applies to a relatively small or uniform part.

the entertainment section of the newspaper

segment applies to a part separated or marked out by or as if by natural lines of cleavage.

the retired segment of the population

fragment applies to a part produced by or as if by breaking off.

only a fragment of the play still exists

Example Sentences

Noun The dish lay in fragments on the floor. I could only hear fragments of their conversation. Verb The party is fragmenting into warring factions. These issues are fragmenting our society. property being fragmented into subdivisions
Recent Examples on the Web
It cannot be determined whether this was a tiny meteor fragment or one of the countless pieces of space junk whizzing around low-Earth orbit. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 11 Jan. 2023 The fragment remains on the ocean floor just off the Florida coast near Cape Canaveral as NASA determines the next step. Arkansas Online, 11 Nov. 2022 According to Ukrainian news outlet, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko announced that three people had been injured, one of them critically, when a rocket fragment hit a residential building in the city. WSJ, 25 Feb. 2022 In north-eastern city of Kharkiv, just 25 miles from the Russian border, Mikhail Shcherbakov told The Associated Press that a missile fragment had pierced the ceiling of his apartment. NBC News, 24 Feb. 2022 The golfer and dad of two underwent his recent back surgery to remove a disc fragment pinching his nerve after experiencing discomfort following the December PNC Championship. Jason Duaine Hahn,, 24 Feb. 2021 In 1959 paleontologist Mary Leakey pulled a bone fragment from a gully in Tanzania. Rebecca Coffey, Discover Magazine, 21 Dec. 2011 The Kalmyks are a people who were a fragment of the aforementioned Zunghar Empire who took refuge in the Russian Empire. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 30 Nov. 2022 The Rosetta Stone is a fragment of a larger slab erected at an Egyptian temple in 196 B.C.E., during the reign of Ptolemy V, a Ptolemaic king of Macedonian Greek ancestry. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Sep. 2022
The best way to show that As has been incorporated into DNA would be to purify the DNA, fragment it, and show that the fragments contain As in the backbone by mass spectroscopy. Carl Zimmer, Discover Magazine, 9 Dec. 2010 Fleming warned that China is seeking to fragment the infrastructure of the internet to exert greater control. Jill Lawless, ajc, 12 Oct. 2022 Eleven minutes long, Memoria seems to fragment and overlap stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance — in no linear order. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 28 May 2022 That water can quickly flash to steam and help fragment the magma into ash, adding to the explosivity of the eruption. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 5 Jan. 2017 Fleming warned that China is seeking to fragment the infrastructure of the internet to exert greater control. Jill Lawless, ajc, 12 Oct. 2022 Later work in our lab has shown that grid maps also fragment into smaller maps in open environments if these spaces are large enough. May-britt Moser, Scientific American, 1 Jan. 2016 Fleming warned that China is seeking to fragment the infrastructure of the internet to exert greater control. Jill Lawless, ajc, 12 Oct. 2022 Studying and understanding asteroid populations will also help scientists learn the distribution and dynamics of space rocks – like how the heat of the sun can fracture and fragment them over time. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 31 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fragment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



Middle English, borrowed from Latin fragmentum, from frag-, variant stem of frangere "to break, shatter" + -mentum -ment — more at break entry 1


derivative of fragment entry 1

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


1818, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of fragment was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near fragment

Cite this Entry

“Fragment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a part that is broken off or incomplete

Medical Definition


frag·​ment ˈfrag-mənt How to pronounce fragment (audio)
: a part broken off or detached

More from Merriam-Webster on fragment

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?