Fragmentation describes a separating of something into pieces. The way a family can be affected by divorce, its members living in separate houses, is one kind of fragmentation.

People often have an image of an exploding bomb when they think about fragmentation, and that sense of something breaking into tiny particles is a useful way to think of the word, no matter how it's used. A burst water balloon experiences fragmentation, and so does a city disrupted by violence. The Latin root word, fragmentum, literally means "a piece broken off," or a fragment.

Definitions of fragmentation

n separating something into pieces or fine particles

atomisation, atomization
Type of:
the act or process of dividing

n the scattering of bomb fragments after the bomb explodes

Type of:
blowup, detonation, explosion
a violent release of energy caused by a chemical or nuclear reaction

n the disintegration of social norms governing behavior and thought and social relationships

Type of:
decomposition, disintegration
in a decomposed state

n (computer science) the condition of a file that is broken up and stored in many different locations on a magnetic disk

fragmentation slows system performance because it takes extra time to locate and assemble the parts of the fragmented file”
Type of:
(computer science) the process of storing information in a computer memory or on a magnetic tape or disk

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