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. 2019

Related Words for splintering

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

Examples from the Web for splintering

Contemporary Examples of splintering

Historical Examples of splintering

  • A loud crack came out of her, followed by the tearing and splintering of wood.


    Joseph Conrad

  • There was a sound of splintering glass and the acrid smell of smoke.

    Jane Journeys On

    Ruth Comfort Mitchell

  • Then there was a splintering noise and a part of the wood broke away.

    The Doers

    William John Hopkins

  • And at that instant there was a sound of splintering, breaking wood.

  • About the road there sounded somewhere the splintering of stone and timbers.

    A Witch Shall Be Born

    Robert E. Howard

British Dictionary definitions for splintering


  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 splintering



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