a fragment, especially of broken earthenware.
  1. a scale.
  2. a shell, as of an egg or snail.
Entomology. an elytron of a beetle.

Also sherd.

Origin of shard

before 1000; Middle English; Old English sceard; cognate with Low German, Dutch schaard; akin to shear Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shard

Contemporary Examples of shard

Historical Examples of shard

  • And, faster and faster still, they crashed into the shard of steel.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service

  • He picked up a shard of rubidium that served as a paper weight and toyed with it.

    The Stutterer

    R.R. Merliss

  • On the floor under where it should have been I caught the flash of light from a shard of glass.

    The Gallery

    Roger Phillips Graham

  • Well, look at the figures and lettering on the shard; you can see those.

    King John of Jingalo

    Laurence Housman

  • Then, as he examined them, he saw that the shard and the four films had been changed.

    King John of Jingalo

    Laurence Housman

British Dictionary definitions for shard




a broken piece or fragment of a brittle substance, esp of pottery
zoology a tough sheath, scale, or shell, esp the elytra of a beetle

Word Origin for shard

Old English sceard; related to Old Norse skarth notch, Middle High German scharte notch
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 shard

also sherd, Old English sceard "incision, cleft, gap; potshard, a fragment, broken piece," from Proto-Germanic *skardas (cf. Middle Dutch schaerde "a fragment, a crack," Dutch schaard "a flaw, a fragment," German Scharte "a notch," Danish skaar "chink, potsherd"), a past participle from the root of Old English sceran "to cut" (see shear). Meaning "fragment of broken earthenware" developed in late Old English. Used late 14c. as "scale of a dragon." French écharde "prickle, splinter" is a Germanic loan-word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper