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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 splintering
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was a crashing sound, a splintering of wood, and the two forward horses went down in a heap.

  • Then there was a splintering noise and a part of the wood broke away.

    The Doers William John Hopkins
  • Then another sound was heard in the midst of the reverberating roar, a sound of splintering glass, of stone hurled upon stone.

    Rilla of the Lighthouse Grace May North
  • And at that instant there was a sound of splintering, breaking wood.

  • At the fourth effort there was a sound of splintering wood, the lock gave, and the door swung back.

    The Moon Rock Arthur J. Rees
  • The colossus was splintering the massive panels as if they were of cardboard.

    The Devil in Iron Robert E. Howard
  • The crash, mingled with the splintering of wood, was so terrific that she thought her end had come.

    Nobody's Girl Hector Malot
British Dictionary definitions for splintering


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 splintering



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 splintering

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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