- a fragment, especially of broken earthenware.
- a scale.
- a shell, as of an egg or snail.
- Entomology. an elytron of a beetle.
- a broken piece or fragment of a brittle substance, esp of pottery
- zoology a tough sheath, scale, or shell, esp the elytra of a beetle
n.also sherd, Old English sceard “incision, cleft, gap; potshard, a fragment, broken piece,” from Proto-Germanic *skardas (cf. Middle Dutch schaerde “a fragment, a crack,” Dutch schaard “a flaw, a fragment,” German Scharte “a notch,” Danish skaar “chink, potsherd”), a past participle from the root of Old English sceran “to cut” (see shear). Meaning “fragment of broken earthenware” developed in late Old English. Used late 14c. as “scale of a dragon.” French écharde “prickle, splinter” is a Germanic loan-word.