From Henry Shrapnel, British army officer who invented an anti-personnel shell that transported a large number of bullets to the target before releasing them, at a far greater distance than rifles could fire the bullets individually. The surname is likely a metathesized form of Charbonnel, a diminutive of Old French charbon (“charcoal”) in reference to hair color, complexion, or the like.
- (historical) An anti-personnel artillery shell used in WWI which carries a large number of individual bullets close to the target and then ejects them to allow them to continue along the shell's trajectory and strike the target individually.
- A collective term for shot, fragments, or debris thrown out by an exploding shell or landmine.
- (slang) Loose change.
- debris caused by action of persons or animals.
- The dog did not eat my sandwich. It was in a bag. If he had eaten my sandwich, there'd be shrapnel all over the place from him tearing open the bag.
shrapnel m (plural shrapnels)