[ frag-muhn-teyt ]

verb (used with or without object)

, frag·men·tat·ed, frag·men·tat·ing.

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of fragmentate1

First recorded in 1940–45; back formation from fragmentation


Discover More

More About Fragmentate

What does fragmentate mean?

Fragmentate means to separate something into parts or to break it into fragments—pieces, especially ones that have been broken off of or detached from something else.

Fragment can also be used as a verb to mean the same thing as fragmentate, but it is much more commonly used.

Sometimes, someone or something does the fragmentating, as in They’re going to fragmentate the corporation into several companies. 

Fragmentate can also mean for something to break into fragments without someone doing the fragmentating, as in The fossilized remains fragmentated over thousands of years. 

The verb fragmentize can be used to mean the same thing as fragmentate. The adjective fragmentized describes things that have been broken into fragments or things that are or have been disorganized or disunified in some way. The adjective fragmented is more commonly used to mean the same thing.

The related noun fragmentation refers to the process of breaking or falling into fragments.

Example: The eroding forces of wind and water have fragmentated the rock into tiny bits.

Where does fragmentate come from?

The first records of the word fragmentate come from around the 1940s. It’s a back formation of fragmentation—meaning that the noun fragmentation came first and was then altered to make the verb fragmentate. Both words ultimately come 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. So, when things are said to have been fragmentated, it often means they have been made incomplete or less effective in some way. Fragmentate is perhaps more commonly used in the context of physical objects, while fragmentize may be more commonly used in the context of intangible things. Still, the verb fragment is more commonly used than either of them.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to fragmentate?

What are some synonyms for fragmentate?

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

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

How is fragmentate used in real life?

Fragmentate can be used in the context of both tangible and intangible things. The verb fragment is more commonly used to mean the same thing.



Try using fragmentate!

Which of the following words is a synonym of fragmentate?

A. fragment
B. fragmentize
C. break
D. all of the above