Definition of shrapnel in English:

shrapnel

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

noun

[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.
1.1 historical A shell containing bullets or pieces of metal timed to burst short of impact.
More example sentences
  • A couple of shrapnels were sent after them to keep them on the run.
  • Under them 18-pounder shrapnel, shedding sparks of burning fuses, tore screaming away east.
  • Hardly did I walk two or three steps than four or five shrapnels burst near me.
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.

Origin

early 19th century: named after General Henry Shrapnel (1761–1842), the British soldier who invented the shell; the sense 'fragments of a bomb or shell' originated during the First World War.

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