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also sherd, Old English sceard "incision, cleft, gap; potshard, a fragment, broken piece," from Proto-Germanic *skardas (cf. Middle Dutch schaerde "a fragment, a crack," Dutch schaard "a flaw, a fragment," German Scharte "a notch," Danish skaar "chink, potsherd"), a past participle from the root of Old English sceran "to cut" (see shear). Meaning "fragment of broken earthenware" developed in late Old English. Used late 14c. as "scale of a dragon." French écharde "prickle, splinter" is a Germanic loan-word.