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shred

[shred]
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noun
  1. a piece cut or torn off, especially in a narrow strip.
  2. a bit; scrap: We haven't got a shred of evidence.
verb (used with object), shred·ded or shred, shred·ding.
  1. to cut or tear into small pieces, especially small strips; reduce to shreds.
verb (used without object), shred·ded or shred, shred·ding.
  1. to be cut up, torn, etc.: The blouse had shredded.

Origin of shred

before 1000; (noun) Middle English schrede, Old English scrēade; cognate with Old Norse skrjōthr worn-out book, German Schrot chips; (v.) Middle English schreden, Old English scrēadian to pare, trim; akin to shroud; cf. screed
Related formsshred·less, adjectiveshred·like, adjectiveun·shred·ded, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for shred

shred

noun
  1. a long narrow strip or fragment torn or cut off
  2. a very small piece or amount; scrap
verb shreds, shredding, shredded or shred
  1. (tr) to tear or cut into shreds
Derived Formsshredder, noun

Word Origin

Old English scread; related to Old Norse skrjōthr torn-up book, Old High German scrōt cut-off piece; see scroll, shroud, screed
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

Word Origin and History for shred

n.

Old English screade "piece cut off, cutting, scrap," from West Germanic *skrauth- (cf. Old Frisian skred "a cutting, clipping," Middle Dutch schroode "shred," Middle Low German schrot "piece cut off," Old High German scrot, "scrap, shred, a cutting, piece cut off," German Schrot ""log, block, small shot"," Old Norse skrydda "shriveled skin"), from PIE *skreu- "to cut; cutting tool," extension of root *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (see shear (v.)).

v.

Old English screadian "to peel, prune, cut off," from Proto-Germanic *skrauth- (cf. Middle Dutch scroden, Dutch schroeien, Old High German scrotan, German schroten "to shred"), from root of shred (n.). Meaning "cut or tear into shreds" is from 1610s. Related: Shredded; shredding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper