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[splin-ter] /ˈsplɪn tər/
a small, thin, sharp piece of wood, bone, or the like, split or broken off from the main body.
verb (used with object)
to split or break into splinters.
to break off (something) in splinters.
to split or break (a larger group) into separate factions or independent groups.
Obsolete. to secure or support by a splint or splints, as a broken limb.
verb (used without object)
to be split or broken into splinters.
to break off in splinters.
Origin of splinter
1350-1400; Middle English < Middle Dutch or Middle Low German; cf. splint
Related forms
splinterless, adjective
splintery, adjective
unsplintered, adjective
1. sliver. 8. separate, part, split. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for splinter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Suck it," ordered the Doctor, surveying the splinter with an experienced eye.

    Little Men Louisa May Alcott
  • His body seemed to break and splinter, and he sprawled forward on the sand.

    The Man the Martians Made Frank Belknap Long
  • He had sent a splinter of shell through five miles of sunlight, hoping it would do some such thing as this.

    Young Hilda at the Wars Arthur Gleason
  • One day Falk came upon a man gnawing a splinter of pine wood.

    Falk Joseph Conrad
  • One boy in the town had been killed by a splinter of rock; the buildings in the town had scarcely been injured at all.

    Count Frontenac William Dawson LeSueur
British Dictionary definitions for splinter


a very small sharp piece of wood, glass, metal, etc, characteristically long and thin, broken off from a whole
a metal fragment, from the container of a shell, bomb, etc, thrown out during an explosion
to reduce or be reduced to sharp fragments; shatter
to break or be broken off in small sharp fragments
Word Origin
C14: from Middle Dutch splinter; see splint
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 splinter

late 14c., from Middle Dutch splinter, splenter "a splinter," related to splinte (see splint). The adjective (as in splinter party) is first recorded 1935, from the noun.


1580s, from splinter (n.). Figurative sense from c.1600. Related: Splintered; splintering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for splinter

splice the main brace

verb phrase

To have a drink of liquor (1850+ Nautical)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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splinter in Technology

A PL/I interpreter with debugging features.
[Sammet 1969, p.600].

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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