Definition of splinter in English:



  • A small, thin, sharp piece of wood, glass, or similar material broken off from a larger piece.

    ‘a splinter of ice’
    • ‘Sivar turned away and chipped at a splinter of wood that poked from the window ledge.’
    • ‘Even if we were covered with blood, even if we had glass splinters stuck in the shoulders and arms, we just couldn't feel anything.’
    • ‘Outside, power lines were dragging in pools of rainwater and in the hotel corridors solid wood doors lay in splinters.’
    • ‘The splinter from the broken glass hit Evelyn's right shin, leaving a two-inch gash.’
    • ‘Their bunker was ripped to pieces and splinters of wood were sent sky-high.’
    • ‘The flying vehicle of ours crashed through the roadblock, sending splinters and pieces of wood whistling all over the place.’
    • ‘She looked down at her hands, bloody from the myriad of wood splinters and glass shards that had imbedded themselves in her skin.’
    • ‘There were some splinters of wood in a glass case, the clear surface clouded with age.’
    • ‘His right eye has a slight defect due to being pierced by minute splinters of glass.’
    • ‘‘Where windows have been knocked out there are splinters of glass all over our property,’ added Mr Lister.’
    • ‘Then it chose to throw splinters of wood and what looked like pieces of plastic at us.’
    • ‘Finally, rub down the wood to remove the splinters, give it a thin wash of acrylic paint and brush on the clear preservative.’
    • ‘The broomstick snapped into five pieces, splinters and slivers flying everywhere.’
    • ‘Some residents had complained about sharp wood splinters and nails encroaching upon the children's play area in the park.’
    • ‘The entire structure seemed ready to collapse into a sea of glass shards and splinters.’
    • ‘Mindful of the broken glass splinters, Fess reached into the car and opened the door from the inside.’
    • ‘All three were being treated for possible glass splinters in the face.’
    • ‘There among the splinters of wood and streetlit shards of glass was a wooden block with painted letters on its faces.’
    • ‘Patrick recalls much of what followed, he was temporarily blinded from glass splinters as he searched and shouted for his friend but could not find him.’
    • ‘Their room was filled with glass shards and wood splinters.’
    sliver, shiver, chip, shard, needle
    fragment, piece, bit, shred, spell, spillikin
    shaving, paring
    matchwood, flinders
    gallet, spall
    View synonyms


  • 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’
    • ‘Some were popped out of their frames by the force of the exploding jet fuel, but they fell without breaking or splintering.’
    • ‘I walked to the main door and put my right arm on the slightly splintered, wooden doorway.’
    • ‘I squeezed the thing in my claw until it fractured and splintered into a spray of shards and powder.’
    • ‘Nick heard the crack of his bone splintering as a searing pain shot through his face.’
    • ‘The thought enraged her further and her fist hit the mirror, shattering it and splintering the wooden frame around it.’
    • ‘There were no windows at all, and only one splintering wooden door.’
    • ‘He carried a wooden cane that was splintered at the handle so he had a rubber band to keep it together.’
    • ‘The plastic glass on the front door is cracked and splintered, and sheets and filthy blankets are draped over the dirty windows.’
    • ‘He hit hard, shutters splintered and cracked as he went through them.’
    • ‘His wrists broke as he tried to catch himself, splintering under the weight of the senseless lunks of people handcuffed to him.’
    • ‘Thermal shock is a problem indicated by cracking or splintering, which is caused by rapid heating and cooling cycles.’
    • ‘The door fell forward, cracking and splintering violently before being tossed gruesomely to the side.’
    • ‘She wanted to slam the door shut, to hear the satisfying crack of wood against wood, splintering and breaking.’
    • ‘At the end of the bed was a cedar chest which was splintered on one side and looked to have been broken into.’
    • ‘Police smashed their way into some houses soon after 5am, breaking windows and splintering doors.’
    • ‘An X-Ray showed that both bones in her forearm were broken and splintered, and in one place a bone had pierced the skin.’
    • ‘Most of the furniture was broken or splintered and everything appeared to be at least ten years old.’
    • ‘Raev'n had gone into the forest, and branches could be heard splintering from within, the sound only broken by her sobs.’
    • ‘Sam and Flick dived aside in the nick of time, just before the entire wooden shelf splintered against the floor.’
    • ‘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
    View synonyms
    1. 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’
      • ‘The group urged all of Darfur's splintered rebel factions to accept new peace negotiations due to open in Libya later this month.’
      • ‘The liberal, nationalist and secular wings of the revolutionary movement splintered and faded, opposed by the religious faction.’
      • ‘In addition, its Left was split equally along communist and social democratic lines, and the trade union movement was splintered as well.’
      • ‘Exactly what Brown will do to stop children splintering from society is not yet clear.’
      • ‘Shiite religious leaders don't want powerful regions that would dilute their national clout, and there's always the danger the country could splinter.’
      • ‘Given the crisis in the country there is no way the splintered parties can handle it.’
      • ‘My goal is not to splinter the left.’
      • ‘Any attempt to expel certain groups based on untrue allegations will be likely to splinter the movement unnecessarily.’
      • ‘But after the elder Lamonica died, in 1984, his oldest son took over and the congregation began to splinter.’
      • ‘Like Alfred Adler, Jung found himself splintering away to pursue his own theories.’
      • ‘Parents for Justice had withdrawn its co-operation from the faltering Dunne investigation and, riven by internal bickering, was close to splintering.’
      • ‘A truly complex job, considering American culture has splintered viewer tastes.’
      • ‘Palestinians fear the barrier would splinter the State they seek.’
      • ‘Tymoshenko is expected to close at least some of the gap by picking up votes splintered among candidates in the first round.’
      • ‘In lieu of a political party, the Tories have splintered into think tanks.’
      • ‘In fact, the black community is on the verge of becoming much more politically splintered.’
      • ‘Under stress, Europe did not splinter.’
      • ‘The New Democratic movement of pro-free market moderates, which helped catapult Bill Clinton into the White House in 1992, has splintered, transformed by a reinvigoration of grassroots energy.’
      • ‘The splintering of Solidarity, the break-up of Czechoslovakia, the rise of neo-Nazism in Germany are sobering troubles in a process that is still unfolding.’
      • ‘Royal first refused to concede and then insisted on a recount, the party looks as splintered as ever.’


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