[ shrap-nl ]
/ ˈʃræp nl /
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  1. 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.
  2. such projectiles collectively.
shell fragments.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of shrapnel

1800–10; named after Henry Shrapnel (1761–1842), English army officer, its inventor

Words nearby shrapnel

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for shrapnel

British Dictionary definitions for shrapnel

/ (ˈʃræpnəl) /


  1. a projectile containing a number of small pellets or bullets exploded before impact
  2. such projectiles collectively
fragments from this or any other type of shell

Word Origin for shrapnel

C19: named after H. Shrapnel (1761–1842), English army officer, who invented it
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