- Shrapnel is defined as a fragments from an exploded shell or bomb.
A piece of metal that flies off an explosive device and injures a soldier is an example ofshrapnel.
- an artillery shell filled with an explosive charge and many small metal balls, designed to explode in the air over the objective
- the balls scattered by such an explosion
- any fragments scattered by an exploding shell, bomb, etc.
Origin: after H. Shrapnel (1761-1842), British general who invented it
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
noun pl. shrapnel
- Fragments from an exploded artillery shell, mine, or bomb.
- a. A 19th-century artillery shell containing metal balls, designed to explode in the air above enemy troops.b. The metal balls in such a weapon.
Origin: After Henry Shrapnel (1761-1842), British army officer.