shrapnel

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

Named after British army officer Henry Shrapnel (1761–1842) 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.

PronunciationEdit

  • IPA(key): /ˈʃɹæpnəl/
  • (file)

NounEdit

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.
    • 2004, Mike Skinner (lyrics), “Fit But You Know It”, in A Grand Don’t Come For Free, performed by The Streets:
      I was waiting in the queue, looking at the board / Wondering whether to have a burger or chips / Or what the shrapnel in my back pocket could afford
  4. Debris.
    The dog ate my sandwich, and there was shrapnel all over the place from him tearing open the bag.

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FrenchEdit

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

shrapnel m (plural shrapnels)

  1. shrapnel

Further readingEdit