a piece cut or torn off, especially in a narrow strip.
a bit; scrap: We haven't got a shred of evidence.

verb (used with object), shred·ded or shred, shred·ding.

to cut or tear into small pieces, especially small strips; reduce to shreds.

verb (used without object), shred·ded or shred, shred·ding.

to be cut up, torn, etc.: The blouse had shredded.

Origin of shred

before 1000; (noun) Middle English schrede, Old English scrēade; cognate with Old Norse skrjōthr worn-out book, German Schrot chips; (v.) Middle English schreden, Old English scrēadian to pare, trim; akin to shroud; cf. screed
Related formsshred·less, adjectiveshred·like, adjectiveun·shred·ded, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shredded

Contemporary Examples of shredded

Historical Examples of shredded

  • Viviette shredded an apple blossom that had fallen into her lap.


    William J. Locke

  • At Subiaco the streets were strewn, as for a procession, with shredded petals of violets.

  • As far as the eye could see I beheld only flattened and shredded ruin.

    The Prairie Mother

    Arthur Stringer

  • When the white meat is dried, it is shredded for pastry and candy.

    Fil and Filippa

    John Stuart Thomson

  • The leaves may be made into fans, or shredded and woven into mats.

British Dictionary definitions for shredded



a long narrow strip or fragment torn or cut off
a very small piece or amount; scrap

verb shreds, shredding, shredded or shred

(tr) to tear or cut into shreds
Derived Formsshredder, noun

Word Origin for shred

Old English scread; related to Old Norse skrjōthr torn-up book, Old High German scrōt cut-off piece; see scroll, shroud, screed
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 shredded

1570s, past participle adjective from shred (v.). Shredded wheat is recorded from 1885.



Old English screade "piece cut off, cutting, scrap," from West Germanic *skrauth- (cf. Old Frisian skred "a cutting, clipping," Middle Dutch schroode "shred," Middle Low German schrot "piece cut off," Old High German scrot, "scrap, shred, a cutting, piece cut off," German Schrot ""log, block, small shot"," Old Norse skrydda "shriveled skin"), from PIE *skreu- "to cut; cutting tool," extension of root *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (see shear (v.)).



Old English screadian "to peel, prune, cut off," from Proto-Germanic *skrauth- (cf. Middle Dutch scroden, Dutch schroeien, Old High German scrotan, German schroten "to shred"), from root of shred (n.). Meaning "cut or tear into shreds" is from 1610s. Related: Shredded; shredding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper