Definition of shred in English:



  • 1A strip of some material, such as paper, cloth, or food, that has been torn, cut, or scraped from something larger.

    ‘her beautiful dress was torn to shreds’
    • ‘The hunter is doomed to being transformed by the vain goddess of hunting into a stag, to be pursued and torn to shreds by his own hounds.’
    • ‘The first half saw the Waterford defence torn to shreds with just Karl O'Keeffe and Paul Houlihan keeping the home side in the game at times.’
    • ‘Yet the real battle for England is hoping its cricket revival is not going to be torn to shreds in this game by a rampant Aussie team who simply refuse to show any mercy to the old enemy.’
    • ‘Bits of dog harness torn to shreds were scattered about.’
    • ‘Tear one of the shreds of licorice off the big licorice stick.’
    • ‘I assume your values are against seeing people torn to shreds by car bombs.’
    • ‘The federal Liberals have been more responsible for shredding the social safety net than any other government.’
    • ‘The policeman noted that there were multiple pieces of the curtains torn to shreds.’
    • ‘What kind of sport is it that accepts one animal being torn to shreds by another?’
    • ‘They found his robes all torn to shreds in one of the upper levels.’
    • ‘We want the British constitution torn to shreds and reformulated in the interests of working people.’
    • ‘The form-book has certainly been torn to shreds in the play-off stages of this fascinating intermediate championship.’
    • ‘His nerves could easily have been torn to shreds following a series of false starts which led to the Greek being disqualified.’
    • ‘Most cities had been leveled, economies were shattered, resources completely depleted, and societies torn to shreds.’
    • ‘‘They weren't eaten, there was no sign of a hungry animal here, they were just torn to shreds by dogs looking for fun,’ says James.’
    • ‘Her heart ached as the coldness gripped her and tore the dress to pieces, only shreds of innocent cloth lingering between her forsaken fingers.’
    • ‘A hare is be given a short head start to blaze a trail, marking his devious way with shreds of paper, soon to be pursued by a shouting pack of harriers.’
    • ‘Its wooing of such a company, in the eyes of many, shredded public confidence in the agency.’
    • ‘The waves fling themselves at my feet, water torn to shreds - white ribbons thrown across the rocks.’
    • ‘The hard copies have often been torn to shreds, but if a poem made it to my web site it has usually remained.’
    • ‘Rick curled his lip in disgust, slumped in a corner a body, torn to shreds by shrapnel and bullet wounds.’
    • ‘In death, Dorris's reputation was torn to shreds.’
    • ‘The form book was torn to shreds, however, at Walsh Park on Saturday as the Carrickbeg men totally outplayed a ragged Dunhill side to clinch their semi-final place.’
    • ‘This paper is not exhaustive and has only covered some of the areas in which the Constitution has been violated and its ideology torn to shreds.’
    • ‘The very fabric of modern society rent asunder, all we hold dear torn to shreds and flushed down the lavatory.’
    • ‘The feathers came from Kathy's parka, torn to shreds.’
    • ‘At the film's end, Harry is left alone in his destroyed apartment, torn to shreds in a vain search for a planted microphone.’
    • ‘By the sides of the road, triangular signs warned us presence of wind socks, but those that we saw had been torn to shreds by the Atlantic gale, and so posed no risk to anyone.’
    • ‘At one point, the flags were literally torn to shreds.’
    tatter, scrap, strip, ribbon, rag, snippet, snip, remnant, fragment, sliver, splinter, chip, bit, tiny bit, piece, tiny piece, wisp
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[often with negative]A very small amount.
      ‘there was not a shred of evidence that linked him to the fire’
      • ‘To date, however, there is not a shred of credible evidence to support the belief that ETs have already visited us.’
      • ‘That there is not a shred of evidence to suggest that the cyclist is taking, or has taken, drugs does not seem to count.’
      • ‘But not a shred of evidence has ever been produced to suggest, for example, that our intelligence service is not under the control of the government.’
      • ‘I tipped my head back and straightened my shoulders, trying to maintain a shred of dignity, but my attempts were futile.’
      • ‘If they could just say, ‘We made a heck of a mistake, we caused untold misery,’ they could at least come away with a shred of dignity, but they will never do that.’
      • ‘The courage to go out in public with at least a shred of dignity.’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘The drubbing is so complete that any filmmaker with even a shred of dignity would never pick up a camera without mounting a serious counter rebuttal.’
      • ‘There's still a shred of dignity to be salvaged there, I think.’
      • ‘I like to say that I dumped him of course, because that way I at least get to keep a shred of dignity.’
      • ‘If it's a ‘rivalry’ match-up, there's the chance he may halt it in a tie and leave 32,000 fans 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.’
      • ‘In order to retain a shred of dignity, therefore, you should do as little work as possible while pretending to work.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If that Vallee fellow had a shred of dignity, he'd discard his ukulele and take up the foghorn.’
      • ‘They lay stark naked, without a shred of dignity or decency in death.’
      • ‘The others would have joined him if they didn't still retain a shred of dignity, but all the same, they were immensely relieved to be back on solid ground, some more than others.’
      • ‘This feat did not cost $4,000, and it left us with a shred of dignity.’
      • ‘The shows are filled with PhD's and experts claiming this and that with hardly a shred of real truth brought to the fore.’
      • ‘‘Even in England, where Lisa was born, there has been hardly a shred of coverage about her murder,’ she said.’
      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
      View synonyms


  • 1[with object] Tear or cut into shreds.

    ‘shredded cabbage’
    • ‘You may want to consider shredding the leaves and use it as winter mulch.’
    • ‘I poked it gently with the knife, even though I could see that it had been shredded, it had given its life for the family.’
    • ‘All of the recycled trees will be shredded and turned into mulch, which will be used to fertilise woodlands in the region.’
    • ‘The skin of the oranges is peeled and the peels are shredded into small pieces.’
    • ‘After delivery to the nursery it is shredded, and then stacked in long piles in an adjacent glasshouse.’
    • ‘Corsham Town Council is opposing a landowner who wants to use his industrial land for shredding motor tyres.’
    • ‘You place them into a box and no sooner is your back turned than they've shredded the box and disappeared.’
    • ‘The garden shredder also aids in shredding debris from punning your hedges.’
    • ‘The cabbage was shredded and packed in layers with salt, juniper and barberries, pepper, and spices.’
    • ‘When I met the other guys for the first time I nervously shredded two beer coasters.’
    • ‘It will then be shredded and spread across the borough's parks to suppress weeds and put nutrients back into the soil.’
    • ‘Anyhow, I ducked out earlier to plant the new arrivals before the cats shredded them in their packaging.’
    • ‘How they all seem so cool and brave, but each of them is nervously shredding the labels on their beer.’
    • ‘I looked closer and it ended up being that half the fan belt had shredded itself and torn off.’
    • ‘In a small bowl mix the juice of the lime with the fish sauce, sugar and the very finely shredded lime leaves.’
    • ‘Timber would be shredded to produce wood chips for the production of mulch, chipboard or compost.’
    • ‘They will be taken to a waste site in Bury where they will be shredded and prepared as compost for farmland across Lancashire.’
    • ‘The tender inside leaves can be shredded finely for tasty salads and braised red cabbage is fantastic.’
    • ‘They are shredded and used again to surface playgrounds and horse training tracks.’
    • ‘I run my tongue over it gently, shredding it before grinding it between my well-developed teeth.’
    chop finely, cut up, tear up, rip up, grate, rub into pieces, mince, mangle, chew, macerate, grind, granulate, pulverize
    View synonyms
  • 2[no object] Play a very fast, intricate style of rock lead guitar.

    ‘we want to hear everything from country and western to blisteringly fast guitar shredding’
    • ‘Dime was an incredible musician and person who influenced thousands of guitarists and pushed guitar shredding to a higher degree for many years.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, the eviscerated shredding he applies in "Hallelujah!" engages initially for its novelty, but grows tiresome over repeated listenings.’
    • ‘John Bonham rips apart the drums, Robert Plant sings his patented sexual style of the blues, Jimmy Page shreds on that double guitar and John Paul Jones keeps it all together with a rock-solid bass line.’
    • ‘Shredding his way through gems such as "Three Days," " Been Caught Stealing "and current single" Just Because, " he showed why he is considered to be one of the top guitarists in the rock genre.’
    • ‘The rest blends together into an indistinct mass of guitar and vocal shredding.’
    • ‘Tony was in a band called The Ninth Plague and basically shreds on the guitar.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Screaming and shredding are cathartic, yes, but nothing says sensitive like an acoustic guitar.’
    • ‘She won a few hearts from the male fans when she shredded out some righteous guitar solos.’


  • in shreds

    • Very badly damaged; destroyed or ruined.

      ‘my reputation will be in shreds’
      • ‘With the French president's ambitious plans for a cohesive, more centralised European Union in shreds, Ireland can take a bow.’
      • ‘In Bulawayo, police last week discovered several thousand Z $500 notes, mysteriously lying in shreds on a rubbish tip.’
      • ‘Political posters were torn in shreds, property damaged.’
      • ‘All over England, removal vans are probably circling, followed by weeping homeless persons, their hopes in shreds.’
      • ‘In a searing attack, Conservative leader said the Prime Minister's credibility lay in shreds.’
      • ‘Poor conditions cause injuries, as do the terrible shoes they wear until they are in shreds.’
      • ‘The once effective Unemployment Insurance programme is in shreds.’
      • ‘I left the department store with my budget intact, but my Christmas spirit 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/something to shreds

    • informal Criticize someone or something forcefully or aggressively.

      ‘a defense counsel would tear his evidence to shreds’
      • ‘In all the years I have attended, I have never seen a lecturer torn to pieces like that.’
      • ‘In this country we tend to either over praise someone, before knocking them down, or we just tear them to pieces straight away.’
      • ‘I suspect that every Opposition MP would give his or her eye teeth at the moment to listen in on a Labour Party caucus that is tearing itself to pieces.’
      • ‘All because of a bold and sporty declaration by Sobers for which he was torn to pieces by the press.’
      • ‘There's a moment where everyone is just deconstructing the song, tearing it to pieces, which was the point of what we were doing this time.’
      • ‘For Kierkegaard, the god torn to pieces is Christ, a transcendent God who has come down into the world.’
      • ‘The next quarter Cupido came on and went absolutely ga-ga and tore the opposition to pieces.’
      • ‘How do you get to the point where you can create something without wanting to tear it to pieces five seconds later?’
      • ‘The pair are drawn into China's struggle, as nationalists, communists and warlords tear each other to pieces and Japan lurks in the shadows, waiting to pounce.’
      • ‘There is almost nobody in this town who is not tearing him to pieces, said a congressional aide.’


Late Old English scrēad piece cut off scrēadian trim, prune; related to shroud.