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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.


shrapnel (usually uncountable, plural shrapnels)

  1. (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.
  2. A collective term for shot, fragments, or debris thrown out by an exploding shell, bomb or landmine.
  3. (slang) Loose change.
  4. Debris.
    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)

  1. shrapnel

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