Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for March 8, 2019 is:
shard • \SHAHRD\ • noun
1 a : a piece or fragment of a brittle substance; broadly : a small piece or part : scrap
2 : a fragment of a pottery vessel found on sites and in refuse deposits where pottery-making peoples have lived
3 : highly angular curved glass fragments of tuffaceous sediment
There were shards of glass on the floor where the burglars had broken into the building the night before.
“Some 2,600 years ago, in the land of ancient Israel, a military official inked a request onto the reverse side of a pottery shard: ‘If there is any wine, send [quantity].’ Archaeologists found the shard in the 1960s, but the boozy inscription, which had faded to near invisibility, went unnoticed for decades.” — Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, 22 June 2017
Did you know?
Shard dates back to Old English (where it was spelled sceard), and it is related to the Old English word scieran, meaning “to cut.” English speakers have adopted the modernized shard spelling for most uses, but archeologists prefer to spell the word sherd when referring to the ancient fragments of pottery they unearth. Other specialized uses of the word shard include a sense referring to the thick front wings in beetles that protect a hind pair of wings and another sense used for the highly angular curved glass fragments of a type of volcanic rock formation.
March 08, 2019 at 01:00PM