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splinter

A splinter is a narrow, pointed sliver that breaks off something larger. If you walk barefoot on a wooden floor, dock, or boardwalk, you might get a splinter of wood in your foot. Ouch!

We often use the word splinter to refer to tiny shards of wood that lodge under the skin, but a sliver of any hard material — stone, glass, bone, wood, metal — can be called a splinter. When something splinters, it breaks into individual bits. You can also use the word figuratively to describe something that separates in a violent or forceful way, like when a mainstream political party splinters into more or less extreme groups.

Definitions of splinter
  1. noun
    a small thin sharp bit or wood or glass or metal
    “he got a splinter in his finger”
    synonyms: sliver
    see moresee less
    type of:
    bit, chip, flake, fleck, scrap
    a small fragment of something broken off from the whole
  2. verb
    divide into slivers or splinters
    synonyms: sliver
    see moresee less
    type of:
    carve up, dissever, divide, divvy, separate, split, split up
    separate into parts or portions
  3. verb
    break up into splinters or slivers
    “The wood splintered
    synonyms: sliver
    see moresee less
    type of:
    break up, fragment, fragmentise, fragmentize
    break or cause to break into pieces
  4. verb
    withdraw from an organization or communion
    synonyms: break away, secede
    see moresee less
    type of:
    break, break up, part, separate, split, split up
    discontinue an association or relation; go different ways
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