[ noun frag-muhnt; verb frag-muhnt, -ment, frag-ment ]
/ noun ˈfræg mənt; verb ˈfræg mənt, -mɛnt, frægˈmɛnt /
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See synonyms for: fragment / fragmented / fragmenting / fragments on Thesaurus.com

a part broken off or detached: scattered fragments of the broken vase.
an isolated, unfinished, or incomplete part: She played a fragment of her latest composition.
an odd piece, bit, or scrap.
verb (used without object)
to collapse or break into fragments; disintegrate: The chair fragmented under his weight.
verb (used with object)
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Origin of fragment

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English, from Latin fragmentum “a broken piece, remnant,” equivalent to frag- (stem of frangere “to break, shatter” ) + -mentum noun suffix; see origin at break,-ment

synonym study for fragment

1-3. See part.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does fragment mean?

A fragment is a piece that has been broken off of or detached from something else.

Fragment most commonly refers to a part that has broken off rather than one that has been separated gently or intentionally, as in The vase smashed into a million fragments. A bone fragment is a (usually small) piece that has been chipped off from a bone.

Fragment is also used to refer to a part or portion of something that is incomplete or isolated from the whole, such as a fragment of a movie or piece of music.

Sometimes, fragment just means a piece, bit, or scrap (regardless of whether it has been removed from a larger part).

As a verb, fragment can mean to break into pieces or disintegrate, as in The empire fragmented into multiple states after the emperor’s death. It can also mean to cause to break into pieces or disintegrate. Less commonly, it can mean to divide into fragments.

Fragment is also used as a verb in a much more specific way in the context of computers, in which it means to store data files in a way that breaks them up. The opposite of this sense of fragment is defragment—to bringing the parts of the files back together.

The word fragment is used in the formation of many related words, including adjectives, nouns, and verbs.

The adjective fragmented describes things that have been broken into fragments or things that are or have been disorganized or disunified in some way. The adjective fragmentary means consisting of or reduced to fragments—disconnected or incomplete, as in fragmentary evidence.

Fragmentation is the process of breaking into fragments. The verb fragmentize can mean to break something into fragments or separate it into parts, as in They’re going to fragmentize the corporation into several companies. It can also mean for something to break into fragments (without someone doing the fragmentizing).

Example: The pirate captain tore the map into fragments, placing the pieces into separate bottles and scattering them across the seven seas.

Where does fragment come from?

The first records of the word fragment come from around 1400. It ultimately comes from the Latin fragmentum, meaning “a broken piece,” from the verb frangere, meaning “to break.” The word fragile also comes from frangere.

Fragment is similar to other words that mean pieces of a whole, such as part, piece, section, slice, or portion. When it’s used in the context of physical things, fragment usually refers to a piece that has been roughly broken off, often resulting in rough edges or an irregular shape. Such a fragment is usually a small piece and is often useless by itself.

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What are some other forms related to fragment?

What are some synonyms for fragment?

What are some words that share a root or word element with fragment

What are some words that often get used in discussing fragment?

How is fragment used in real life?

Fragment is a common word that’s used in all kinds of context involving parts or portions of things. It’s perhaps most commonly used to refer to small, broken pieces of physical objects.


Try using fragment!

Which of the following words is a synonym of fragment?

A. part
B. piece
C. portion
D. all of the above

How to use fragment in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for fragment


noun (ˈfræɡmənt)
a piece broken off or detachedfragments of rock
an incomplete piece; portionfragments of a novel
a scrap; morsel; bit
verb (fræɡˈmɛnt) Also US: fragmentize (ˈfræɡmənˌtaɪz)
to break or cause to break into fragments

Word Origin for fragment

C15: from Latin fragmentum, from frangere to break
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

Medical definitions for fragment

[ frăgmənt ]

A small part broken off or detached.
An incomplete or isolated portion; a bit.
To break or separate into fragments.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.