[ splin-ter ]
See synonyms for: splintersplinteredsplinteringsplintery on Thesaurus.com

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

verb (used with object)
  1. to split or break into splinters.

  2. to break off (something) in splinters.

  1. to split or break (a larger group) into separate factions or independent groups.

  2. 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

Other words for splinter

Other words from splinter

  • splin·ter·less, adjective
  • splin·ter·y, adjective
  • un·splin·tered, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use splinter in a sentence

  • There was a cry from Tip—a sound of splintering wood—something seemed to strike me a brutal blow.

  • Then came a roaring broadside that went splintering through the British hull, doing more damage than all the Guerriere's fire.

  • Immediately the glass doors opening on the balcony were flung back with a splintering crash.

    The Envoy, Her | Horace Brown Fyfe
  • There was a sound of splintering glass and the acrid smell of smoke.

    Jane Journeys On | Ruth Comfort Mitchell
  • It crashed into him with stunning force, and he could feel ribs splintering.

    The Status Civilization | Robert Sheckley

British Dictionary definitions for splinter


/ (ˈsplɪntə) /

  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

Origin of 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