verb (used with object)
- to break (something) into pieces, as by a blow.
- to damage, as by breaking or crushing: ships shattered by storms.
- to impair or destroy (health, nerves, etc.): The incident shattered his composure.
- to weaken, destroy, or refute (ideas, opinions, etc.): He wanted to shatter her illusions.
verb (used without object)
- to be broken into fragments or become weak or insubstantial.
- Usually shatters. fragments made by shattering.
- to break or be broken into many small pieces
- (tr) to impair or destroyhis nerves were shattered by the torture
- (tr) to dumbfound or thoroughly upsetshe was shattered by the news
- (tr) informal to cause to be tired out or exhausted
- an obsolete word for scatter
- (usually plural) obsolete, or dialect a fragment
v.early 14c., transitive, probably a variant of Middle English scateren (see scatter (v.)). Cf. Old Dutch schetteren Low German schateren. Formations such as scatter-brained had parallel forms in shatter-brained, etc. Intransitive sense from 1560s. Related: Shattered; shattering. Carlyle (1841) used shatterment. Shatters “fragments” is from 1630s.