a small, slender, often sharp piece, as of wood or glass, split, broken, or cut off, usually lengthwise or with the grain; splinter.
any small, narrow piece or portion: A sliver of sky was visible.
a strand of loose, untwisted fibers produced in carding.

verb (used with object)

to split or cut off (a sliver) or to split or cut into slivers: to sliver a log into kindling.
to form (textile fibers) into slivers.

verb (used without object)

to split.

Origin of sliver

1325–75; Middle English slivere (noun), derivative of sliven to split, Old English -slīfan (in tōslīfan to split up
Related formssliv·er·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for sliver

slice, fragment, flake, snippet, shred, shaving, thorn, splinter, snip, slip, bit, paring

Examples from the Web for sliver

Contemporary Examples of sliver

Historical Examples of sliver

  • But, as he held it and picked up a sliver, a thought occurred to him.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

  • The sliver, now being twisted, is called a sliver no longer, but the slubbing.

  • No such difference can be perceived in the sliver at the drawing frame.

  • It doesn't mean a thing though, as far as the Sliver is concerned.


    Edward Elmer Smith

  • Our orders are to get back there at maximum, and you know what that means aboard the Sliver.


    Edward Elmer Smith

British Dictionary definitions for sliver



a thin piece that is cut or broken off lengthwise; splinter
a loose strand or fibre obtained by carding


to divide or be divided into splinters; split
(tr) to form (wool, etc) into slivers
Derived Formssliver-like, adjective

Word Origin for sliver

C14: from sliven to split
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 sliver

"splinter of wood," late 14c., from obsolete verb sliven "to split, cleave," from Old English toslifan "to split, cleave" (see sleave).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper