- 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.
- shell fragments.
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’
April 9, 2014
Shrapnel tore through the Airbus A380, causing severe damage.Why Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Must Have Died Instantaneously
March 11, 2014
I recall watching a corporal savaged by shrapnel struggle to survive.The Book America Needs to Read Right Now
John Kael Weston
January 20, 2014
Oh for the good "Queen Bess," her high command, and her 15-inch shrapnel!
How often have I felt anxious seeing these shrapnel through the telescope.
But the shrapnel got on to these fellows also and I lost sight of them.
When we got back to the Arno we found she had been hit by shrapnel, but no damage.
Then they came to grips and mentioned the cause of their injuries—bullet or shrapnel.A Boswell of Baghdad
E. V. Lucas
- a projectile containing a number of small pellets or bullets exploded before impact
- such projectiles collectively
- fragments from this or any other type of shell
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.