Definition of shred in English:

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Pronunciation: /ʃrɛd/


(usually shreds)
1A strip of material, such as paper, cloth, or food, that has been torn, cut, or scraped from something larger: her dress was torn to shreds
More example sentences
  • Her heart ached as the coldness gripped her and tore the dress to pieces, only shreds of innocent cloth lingering between her forsaken fingers.
  • The waves fling themselves at my feet, water torn to shreds - white ribbons thrown across the rocks.
  • Rick curled his lip in disgust, slumped in a corner a body, torn to shreds by shrapnel and bullet wounds.
tatter, scrap, strip, ribbon, rag, snippet, snip, remnant, fragment, sliver, splinter, chip, bit, tiny bit, piece, tiny piece, wisp
1.1 [often with negative] A very small amount: we have not a shred of evidence to go on
More example sentences
  • There is hardly a shred of human feeling or emotion in anything he does or believes in (aside from the numerous internal political battles he has engaged in to get to where he is today).
  • Mortified by the embarrassment of this mistaken identity, I log off and retire to bed early to consider whether there's any possible way to turn this ridiculous situation around with a shred of dignity.
  • Idi's out of a coma, possibly blind, possibly brain-damaged, certainly in intense discomfort from renal failure, and without a shred of human dignity.
scrap, bit, tiny amount, speck, iota, particle, ounce, whit, jot, atom, molecule, crumb, morsel, fragment, grain, drop, hint, touch, trace, suggestion, whisper, suspicion, scintilla, spot, mite, tittle, jot or tittle, modicum;
Irish  stim
informal smidgen, smidge

verb (shreds, shredding, shredded)

1 [with object] Tear or cut into shreds.
Example sentences
  • The tender inside leaves can be shredded finely for tasty salads and braised red cabbage is fantastic.
  • I looked closer and it ended up being that half the fan belt had shredded itself and torn off.
  • The cabbage was shredded and packed in layers with salt, juniper and barberries, pepper, and spices.
chop finely, cut up, tear up, rip up, grate, rub into pieces, mince, mangle, chew, macerate, grind, granulate, pulverize
1.1Reduce documents to unreadable strips by feeding them into a shredder: executives have shredded key documents
More example sentences
  • He has also raised questions over whether e-mails were deleted or documents shredded.
  • Fortunately, most firms now make a habit of shredding documents they no longer need.
  • We receive a certificate to show the date that the documents were shredded.
2 [no object] (usually as noun shredding) Play a very fast, intricate style of rock lead guitar: we want to hear everything from country and western to blisteringly fast guitar shredding
More example sentences
  • I was impressed at how you can revive the 80's guitar shredding days without altering a thing.
  • Several overlapping vocals are thrown over a punky guitar that shreds quickly over repeated cymbal crashes in the background.
  • Dime was an incredible musician and person who influenced thousands of guitarists and pushed guitar shredding to a higher degree for many years.



in shreds

Very badly damaged; destroyed or ruined: my reputation will be in shreds
More example sentences
  • All over England, removal vans are probably circling, followed by weeping homeless persons, their hopes in shreds.
  • A French cabinet minister once branded him a " personality in shreds ".
  • Smoked duck breast from Ilan County is cut in shreds.

tear someone/thing to shreds

informal Criticize someone or something aggressively: a defence counsel would tear his evidence to shreds
More example sentences
  • In all the years I have attended, I have never seen a lecturer torn to pieces like that.
  • For Kierkegaard, the god torn to pieces is Christ, a transcendent God who has come down into the world.
  • All because of a bold and sporty declaration by Sobers for which he was torn to pieces by the press.


Late Old English scrēad 'piece cut off', scrēadian 'trim, prune', of West Germanic origin; related to shroud.

  • shroud from Old English:

    Late Old English scrūd meant ‘garment, clothing’ and is from a Germanic source from a base meaning ‘cut’; shred (Old English) is related. An early sense of to shroud in Middle English was ‘cover so as to protect’. Use for the sheet in which a corpse is laid out, dates from the late 16th century.

Words that rhyme with shred

abed, ahead, bed, behead, Birkenhead, bled, bread, bred, coed, cred, crossbred, dead, dread, Ed, embed, Enzed, fed, fled, Fred, gainsaid, head, infrared, ked, lead, led, Med, misled, misread, Ned, outspread, premed, pure-bred, read, red, redd, said, samoyed, shed, sked, sled, sped, Spithead, spread, stead, ted, thread, tread, underbred, underfed, wed

For editors and proofreaders

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