[ splin-ter ]
/ ˈsplɪn tər /


a small, thin, sharp piece of wood, bone, or the like, split or broken off from the main body.

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to be split or broken into splinters.
to break off in splinters.

Nearby words

  1. splicing,
  2. spliff,
  3. spline,
  4. splint,
  5. splint bone,
  6. splinter group,
  7. splintery,
  8. split,
  9. split brain,
  10. split cane

Origin of splinter

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle Dutch or Middle Low German; cf. splint

Related formssplin·ter·less, adjectivesplin·ter·y, adjectiveun·splin·tered, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for splinter

British Dictionary definitions for splinter


/ (ˈsplɪntə) /


a very small sharp piece of wood, glass, metal, etc, characteristically long and thin, broken off from a whole
a metal fragment, from the container of a shell, bomb, etc, thrown out during an explosion


to reduce or be reduced to sharp fragments; shatter
to break or be broken off in small sharp fragments

Word Origin for splinter

C14: from Middle Dutch splinter; see splint

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 splinter
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper