- a hollow projectile containing bullets or the like and a bursting charge, designed to explode before reaching the target, and to set free a shower of missiles.
- such projectiles collectively.
Origin of shrapnel
Examples from the Web for shrapnel
In theory, someone could be relatively close to the explosion and survive since the shrapnel would zip by harmlessly overhead.
A couple weeks ago, I found a pea-sized shard of shrapnel from a past attack in a parking lot.
The new polio threat is a major and predictable consequence of war, just like shrapnel injuries and broken families.U.N. Calls Middle East Polio Outbreak ‘Greatest Polio Challenge in History’|Kent Sepkowitz|April 9, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Shrapnel tore through the Airbus A380, causing severe damage.Why Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Must Have Died Instantaneously|Clive Irving|March 11, 2014|DAILY BEAST
I recall watching a corporal savaged by shrapnel struggle to survive.
As the tank was passing our guns a shrapnel shell burst just behind it and above it.
They told me that the village had been fired on by shrapnel a few minutes before we came into it.A Journal of Impressions in Belgium|May Sinclair
Bits of shrapnel rattled from the ceiling and wall behind them.Planet of the Damned|Harry Harrison
Occasionally there is a bit of a rattle—that's shrapnel bullets falling on the tiles of an outhouse.Adventures of a Despatch Rider|W. H. L. Watson
How often have I felt anxious seeing these shrapnel through the telescope.Gallipoli Diary, Volume 2|Ian Hamilton
British Dictionary definitions for shrapnel
- a projectile containing a number of small pellets or bullets exploded before impact
- such projectiles collectively
Word Origin for shrapnel
Word Origin and History for shrapnel
1806, from Gen. Henry Shrapnel (1761-1842), who invented a type of exploding, fragmenting shell when he was a lieutenant in the Royal Artillery during the Peninsular War. The invention consisted of a hollow cannon ball, filled with shot, which burst in mid-air; his name for it was spherical case ammunition. Sense of "shell fragments" is first recorded 1940. The surname is attested from 13c., and is believed to be a metathesized form of Charbonnel, a diminutive form of Old French charbon "charcoal," in reference to complexion, hair color, or some other quality.