• synonyms


[frag-muh n-tey-shuh n]
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  1. the act or process of fragmenting; state of being fragmented.
  2. the disintegration, collapse, or breakdown of norms of thought, behavior, or social relationship.
  3. the pieces of an exploded fragmentation bomb or grenade.
  4. Computers. the process, or result, of storing a file in non-contiguous sectors on a disk. As files are created, modified, deleted, etc., both the allocation of the files and the remaining free space on the disk become fragmented, slowing down data access speed on the disk.
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Origin of fragmentation

First recorded in 1880–85; fragment + -ation
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for fragmentation


  1. the act of fragmenting or the state of being fragmented
  2. the disintegration of norms regulating behaviour, thought, and social relationships
  3. the steel particles of an exploded projectile
  4. (modifier) of or relating to a weapon designed to explode into many small pieces, esp as an antipersonnel weapona fragmentation bomb
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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 fragmentation


1881, from fragment + -ation. Fragmentation grenade attested from 1918.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

fragmentation in Science


  1. The scattering of parts of a computer file across different regions of a disk. Fragmentation occurs when the operating system breaks up the file and stores it in locations left vacant by previously deleted files. The more fragmented the file, the slower it is to retrieve, since each piece of the file must be identified and located on the disk.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.