"small piece," c.1200, probably related to M.L.G. schever, schiver
"splinter," from P.Gmc. *skif-
"split" (cf. O.H.G. skivaro
, Ger. Schiefer
"splinter, slate"). The verb, "to break in or into pieces" is attested from c.1200. Chiefly in phrases to shivers
and shiver me timbers
(1835), "a mock oath attributed in comic fiction to sailors" [OED]. My timbers!
as a nautical oath is attested from 1789 (see timber
). Also, shiver
is still dial. for "splinter (n.)" in Norfolk and Lincolnshire.