v. shat·tered, shat·ter·ing, shat·ters
1. To cause to break or burst suddenly into pieces, as with a violent blow. See Synonyms at break.
a. To damage seriously; disable: His health was shattered by the disease.
b. To cause the destruction or ruin of; destroy: The outcome of the conflict shattered our dreams of peace and prosperity.
To break into pieces; smash or burst: The glass shattered when it hit the floor.
1. often shatters A fragment or splinter: a rare piece of porcelain now in shatters.
2. A scattering collection or spray of fragments: "A window broke into a shatter of glass" (Rosemund Pilcher).
[Middle English schateren, from Old English *sceaterian, to scatter.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.