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[shat-er] /ˈʃæt ər/
verb (used with object)
to break (something) into pieces, as by a blow.
to damage, as by breaking or crushing:
ships shattered by storms.
to impair or destroy (health, nerves, etc.):
The incident shattered his composure.
to weaken, destroy, or refute (ideas, opinions, etc.):
He wanted to shatter her illusions.
verb (used without object)
to be broken into fragments or become weak or insubstantial.
Usually, shatters. fragments made by shattering.
Origin of shatter
1300-50; Middle English schateren < ?; cf. scatter
Related forms
shatterer, noun
shatteringly, adverb
nonshatter, noun
nonshattering, adjective
unshattered, adjective
1. shiver, split, crack. See break. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for shatter
  • The euro zone could shatter into different pieces, or a large block in the north and a fragmented south.
  • The euro zone could shatter into different pieces, or a large block in the north and a fragmented south.
  • Similarly, if an asteroid is small enough to shatter from a nuke, maybe a kinetic energy projectile isn't such a good idea either.
  • Even a small amount of doubt is enough to shatter consensus.
  • Ceramic knives hold an edge--but they shatter if dropped.
  • The only caveat is that these are not for people who tend to drop things, since they will shatter if dropped.
  • The weight of the water then drives the cracks through the ice, causing it to shatter.
  • Because simply seeing a vase shatter activates the part of the brain that handles sound.
  • It doesn't eliminate fossil fuels or shatter the price levels of other clean technologies.
  • The settling of stationing cleaning is one way not to shatter scatter and scattering.
British Dictionary definitions for shatter


to break or be broken into many small pieces
(transitive) to impair or destroy: his nerves were shattered by the torture
(transitive) to dumbfound or thoroughly upset: she was shattered by the news
(transitive) (informal) to cause to be tired out or exhausted
an obsolete word for scatter
(usually pl) (obsolete or dialect) a fragment
Derived Forms
shatterer, noun
shattering, adjective
shatteringly, adverb
Word Origin
C12: perhaps obscurely related to scatter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shatter

early 14c., transitive, probably a variant of Middle English scateren (see scatter (v.)). Cf. Old Dutch schetteren Low German schateren. Formations such as scatter-brained had parallel forms in shatter-brained, etc. Intransitive sense from 1560s. Related: Shattered; shattering. Carlyle (1841) used shatterment. Shatters "fragments" is from 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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