See more synonyms for splinter on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to split or break into splinters.
  2. to break off (something) in splinters.
  3. to split or break (a larger group) into separate factions or independent groups.
  4. Obsolete. to secure or support by a splint or splints, as a broken limb.
verb (used without object)
  1. to be split or broken into splinters.
  2. to break off in splinters.

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

Synonyms for splinter

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for splintered

rive, smash, disintegrate, shatter, split, fracture, fragment, shiver, burst, pash

Examples from the Web for splintered

Contemporary Examples of splintered

Historical Examples of splintered

  • Then we splintered the hot stone by throwing water on it, and dug out the splinters.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • In a fury he flung the glass from him, so that it crashed and splintered upon the floor.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • She was trying to clamber through a trellis of iron and splintered wood.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

  • No, he says it is certainly not broken, but it may be splintered.

  • To pierce it would have splintered to pieces the sharpest sword.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service

British Dictionary definitions for splintered


  1. a very small sharp piece of wood, glass, metal, etc, characteristically long and thin, broken off from a whole
  2. a metal fragment, from the container of a shell, bomb, etc, thrown out during an explosion
  1. to reduce or be reduced to sharp fragments; shatter
  2. 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 splintered



late 14c., from Middle Dutch splinter, splenter "a splinter," related to splinte (see splint). The adjective (as in splinter party) is first recorded 1935, from the noun.



1580s, from splinter (n.). Figurative sense from c.1600. Related: Splintered; splintering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper