Definition of splinter in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈsplɪntə/


A small, thin, sharp piece of wood, glass, or similar material broken off from a larger piece: a splinter of ice
More example sentences
  • Their room was filled with glass shards and wood splinters.
  • She looked down at her hands, bloody from the myriad of wood splinters and glass shards that had imbedded themselves in her skin.
  • The splinter from the broken glass hit Evelyn's right shin, leaving a two-inch gash.
sliver, shiver, chip, shard, needle;
fragment, piece, bit, shred, spell, spillikin;
(splintersmatchwood, flinders;
Scottish  skelf
technical gallet, spall


1Break or cause to break into small sharp fragments: [no object]: the soap box splintered [with object]: he crashed into a fence, splintering the wooden barricade
More example sentences
  • The thought enraged her further and her fist hit the mirror, shattering it and splintering the wooden frame around it.
  • Some were popped out of their frames by the force of the exploding jet fuel, but they fell without breaking or splintering.
  • Coat wooden handles with boiled linseed oil to help preserve them and prevent splintering and breaking.
shatter, break into tiny pieces, break into fragments, smash, smash into smithereens, fracture, split, crack, disintegrate, crumble
technical spall
rare shiver
1.1(Of a group or organization) separate into smaller units, typically as a result of disagreement: the party had begun to splinter into factions
More example sentences
  • Tymoshenko is expected to close at least some of the gap by picking up votes splintered among candidates in the first round.
  • In fact, the black community is on the verge of becoming much more politically splintered.
  • Any attempt to expel certain groups based on untrue allegations will be likely to splinter the movement unnecessarily.



Pronunciation: /ˈsplɪntəri/
Example sentences
  • She takes half-hour showers after work and makes Dr Pepper popsicles in the ice tray, splintery brown cubes she sucks between her fingers.
  • At the near end of the pond was a splintery wooden dock.
  • All three versions combine the joy of dry, splintery pastry with the joy of chewy, indigestible glop.


Middle English: from Middle Dutch splinter, splenter; related to splint.

Words that rhyme with splinter

Jacinta, midwinter, Minter, Pinta, Pinter, printer, sprinter, tinter, winter

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: splin|ter

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.