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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb With a difference of 46 points between the teams, a Cougars upset would shatter the 37-point record for the biggest playoff upset. Dylan Bumbarger, oregonlive, 22 Apr. 2022 The Stoneman Douglas massacre would shatter families, destroy careers, give new life to the gun-control movement, and spur the transformation of schools into fortresses. Brittany Wallman,, 3 Apr. 2022 Hours later, Latvia’s foreign minister dismally predicted that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would shatter any belief that the region could ever let down its guard against President Vladimir V. Putin. New York Times, 7 Mar. 2022 No one knows what President Vladimir Putin is thinking, but there’s no reason to believe that even the toughest measures will shatter his determination to force the Western-leaning former Soviet republic back into Moscow’s orbit. Matthew Lee, ajc, 11 Mar. 2022 Nothing ruins a pool party like a minefield of broken glass, so stick to drinkware that won’t shatter. The Bon Appétit Staff, Bon Appétit, 9 June 2021 Westbrook’s long been the kind of do-it-all player that’s able to shatter records — a points, rebounds and assists master capable of carrying one of the heaviest workloads in the NBA. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, 11 Jan. 2022 Alabama also continues to shatter records for positivity rate, or the percent of COVID tests performed that come back positive. Ramsey Archibald |, al, 5 Jan. 2022 This year’s holiday season is expected to shatter records, according to the National Retail Federation, a trade group. NBC News, 16 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Ekobo, based in France, uses the vegetal waste produced by manufacturing chopsticks to create gorgeous, colorful, shatter-proof dishware ideal for outdoor entertaining. Christine Lennon, Sunset Magazine, 23 May 2022 The newer products are called marijuana concentrates and are commonly known as wax and shatter. NBC News, 29 Apr. 2022 The major social-media and tech companies have already done their share to pervert civil discourse and shatter consensus and squelch reason, all to make a buck. Sam Lipsyte, Harper’s Magazine , 27 Apr. 2022 But none have yet been attempted in the Middle East’s canonical shatter zone. New York Times, 20 Apr. 2022 Shatterdive now has a 100% buff to frozen combatants in PvE, in addition to other PvE stasis shatter buffs, but it has been nerfed heavily in PvP and should almost never one-shot from full health. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 6 Dec. 2021 With the help of Wendall K. Harrington’s animated projections, the walls shatter and melt away in Marie’s dream and a magically expanding Christmas tree seems to burst the bounds of the stage and threaten to devour the Opera House. Washington Post, 25 Nov. 2021 The revelations that shatter Vivie’s peace point to age-old injustices: Constraints on women’s professional and personal options. Washington Post, 10 Mar. 2022 The way Hatch sees it, Van Dyke’s release couldn’t come at a worse time for the police department, which has been scrambling to regain public trust that the McDonald case helped shatter. Don Babwin, USA TODAY, 3 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

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

31 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Shatter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

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

More Definitions for shatter


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

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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