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Meaning: fragments of metal from a bomb or shell

For example:

  • The soldier was fine after the shrapnel was removed from his leg.

  • After the bomb went off, many bystanders were taken to the hospital due to injuries from shrapnel.

Origin: Henry Shrapnel (1761-1842) was a British artillery officer. He invented the shrapnel shell (1784), a shell filled with metal projectiles that were intended to kill troops. It was adopted by the British Army and used in cannons and rifles.

Quick Quiz:

Which best describes shrapnel?

a. loaded weapons

b. flying metal

c. hammered nails

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Contributor: Tara Benwell