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  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ʃɹɛd/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛd

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English shrede, shred, from Old English sċrēad, sċrēade, from Proto-Germanic *skraudō (a cut, shred). Doublet of escrow.


shred (plural shreds)

  1. A long, narrow piece cut or torn off; a strip.
    • 1631, Francis [Bacon], “(please specify |century=I to X)”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. [], 3rd edition, London: [] VVilliam Rawley; [p]rinted by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee [], OCLC 1044372886:
      shreds of tanned leather
  2. In general, a fragment; a piece; a particle; a very small amount.
    There isn't a shred of evidence to support his claims.
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English shreden, from Old English sċrēadian, from Proto-West Germanic *skraudōn, related to Proto-West Germanic *skraudan (to cut up, shred).


shred (third-person singular simple present shreds, present participle shredding, simple past shredded, past participle shredded or shred)

  1. To cut or tear into narrow and long pieces or strips.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Chaucer to this entry?)
    • 1902, William Carew Hazlitt, Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine:
      Take a little grated bread, some beef-suet, yolks of hard eggs, three anchovies, a bit of an onion, salt and pepper, thyme and winter-savoury, twelve oysters, some nutmeg grated; mix all these together, and shred them very fine, and work them up with raw eggs like a paste, ...
  2. To reduce by a large percentage.
    • 2019 November 21, Samanth Subramanian, “How our home delivery habit reshaped the world”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, never wanted his customers to worry about shipping – about how much it cost, or about how long it would take – and he relentlessly shredded delivery times to make shipping incidental to the purchasing experience.
  3. (obsolete, transitive) To lop; to prune; to trim.
  4. (snowboarding) To ride aggressively.
  5. (bodybuilding) To drop fat and water weight before a competition.
  6. (music, slang) To play very fast (especially guitar solos in rock and metal genres).
Derived terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]