Definition of shrapnel in English:


Line breaks: shrap|nel
Pronunciation: /ˈʃrapn(ə)l


[mass noun]
1Fragments of a bomb, shell, or other object thrown out by an explosion: he was killed by flying shrapnel [as modifier]: shrapnel wounds
More example sentences
  • Soft flesh is no match for mortar shells, rocket-propelled grenade fragments and shrapnel thrown out in all directions by roadside bombs.
  • First into battle was Joe, who ran a head-on-head, slightly damaging his shield power from the enemy's explosion throwing shrapnel into it.
  • Bombs not only throw off shrapnel themselves, they create lots of deadly flying debris, including flying glass from broken windows, that can kill and maim.
2 informal Small change: little more than a few pounds and a handful of shrapnel
More example sentences
  • She looked at me oddly and I searched around and found twenty pence in shrapnel, which I swapped over.
  • For the exchange of a handful of shrapnel, grilled free-range chicken with an expert light aïoli, or with a zappy salsa verde, will shoot down these chutes.
  • From the handful of shrapnel we were passed for trips to Yvonne's sweetie shop, through the insistence that backache and blisters were par for the course in summer jobs.


early 19th century: named after General Henry Shrapnel (1761–1842), the British soldier who invented the shell.

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