shat·​ter | \ ˈsha-tər How to pronounce shatter (audio) \
shattered; shattering; shatters

Definition of shatter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cause to drop or be dispersed
2a : to break at once into pieces
b : to damage badly : ruin
3 : to cause the disruption or annihilation of : demolish

intransitive verb

1 : to break apart : disintegrate
2 : to drop off parts (such as leaves, petals, or fruit)



Definition of shatter (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : fragment, shred usually used in plural the broken vase lay in shatters
2 : an act of shattering : the state of being shattered
3 : a result of shattering : shower

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from shatter


shatteringly \ ˈsha-​tə-​riŋ-​lē How to pronounce shatter (audio) \ adverb

Examples of shatter in a Sentence

Verb The rock shattered the window. His dreams were shattered by their rejection. The end of his marriage shattered him emotionally.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That glass slipper was supposed to shatter in the postseason, crumbling in front of the powerful Los Angeles Dodgers. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, 12 Oct. 2021 That is, if Facebook’s increasingly damaged reputation doesn’t shatter the opportunity. Declan Harty, Fortune, 22 Sep. 2021 But a phone call Tammy received on August 17, 1996 would shatter their lives forever. NBC News, 5 Sep. 2021 Once Chi and his team revealed to the public that Repo was pulling the strings behind the inspiring, charismatic FAKA, the faith of the avatar’s believers would shatter into pieces. Wired, 1 Sep. 2021 Why would one shatter their friendships in such an explosive way? Adrienne Gaffney, Town & Country, 24 Aug. 2021 Over the past five years, these critics helped shatter Silicon Valley’s myth of civic benevolence, while burnishing its image as the ultra-rational overseer of a consumerist future. Joseph Bernstein, Harper's Magazine, 17 Aug. 2021 This heatwave didn't just shatter records in the U.S., but Canada too. Daniel Manzo, ABC News, 1 July 2021 Up to 17 inches of rain fell in the county in less than 24 hours Saturday, appearing to shatter the Tennessee record for one-day rainfall by more than 3 inches, the National Weather Service said. CBS News, 23 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun It's made from a shatter-resistant ceramic, which gives it a different feel than most travel mugs. Jess Grey, Wired, 14 Oct. 2021 The quaggas have forced fishermen who pride themselves on calloused hands to wear yellow dishwashing gloves to protect them from shells that shatter like shards from a fluorescent light tube. Dan Egan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 13 Aug. 2011 Each shatter-resistant piece is cast with eight to 10 layers of Lucite ® over a 24-hour period before being baked to achieve a seamless, crystal-clear artwork. Kyle Roderick, Forbes, 18 Sep. 2021 Should the party shatter precedent and go it alone to lock down major legislation or focus instead on across-the-aisle cooperation? Clare Foran, CNN, 10 Sep. 2021 But a default would force ratings companies to downgrade US debt and shatter that borrowing advantage. Matt Egan, CNN, 8 Sep. 2021 Never mind that measures to close the gender success gap in labor markets usually benefit white women over women of color, the former having a glass ceiling to shatter, while for the latter, especially Black women, the ceiling is concrete. Kovie Biakolo, Essence, 17 Aug. 2021 Designed to withstand hurricanes and extreme coastal temperatures, the glass in these windows is shatter-resistant and noise-reducing. Maria Masters, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Aug. 2021 His six Fuel comrades went crashing to the stage floor when Lee hit them with an in-person earth shatter. Sean Collins, Dallas News, 9 July 2021

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

See More

First Known Use of shatter


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


circa 1640, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shatter


Middle English schateren — more at scatter

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About shatter

Time Traveler for shatter

Time Traveler

The first known use of shatter was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near shatter

Shatt al Arab



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for shatter

Last Updated

22 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shatter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for shatter



English Language Learners Definition of shatter

: to break suddenly into many small pieces
: to damage (something) very badly


shat·​ter | \ ˈsha-tər How to pronounce shatter (audio) \
shattered; shattering

Kids Definition of shatter

1 : to break or fall to pieces The window shattered.
2 : to destroy or damage badly The news shattered our hopes.

More from Merriam-Webster on shatter

Nglish: Translation of shatter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shatter for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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