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shrapnel

This page is about the eponym shrapnel

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

Contributor: Tara Benwell