Shard or sherd

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Shard and sherd are two words that are close in pronunciation and spelling, and many people find them confusing. We will examine the definitions of shard and sherd, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A shard is a broken piece of china, glass, ceramic, etc., with edges that are sharp. Usually, shards are the result of shattering something such as a dish or glass. The word shard is derived from the Old English word sceard, meaning gap or incision. The plural form of shard is shards.

A sherd is a broken piece of pottery with edges that are sharp, usually referring to one that is found in an archaeological site. In essence, the words shard and sherd are interchangeable, though the term sherd is favored by archaeologists. Sherd is an abbreviation of the word potsherd, which has been in use since the 1300s. The plural of sherd is sherds.


A 29-year-old woman who police say was armed with a “dagger-shaped shard of glass” was taken to hospital after jumping from a roof and taking a shot from a police Taser. (The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix)

A mother is calling for the beach at Burnham-on-Sea to get a cleanup after her daughter stepped on a shard of glass over the weekend, suffering a horrific gash to her foot. (Somerset)

The team studied a collection of pottery sherds with ink inscriptions from the fortress at Tel Arad about 40 miles south of Jerusalem in the former kingdom of Judah. (Archaeology Magazine)

Until now, they had thought the back of the sherd, also known as Ostracon 16 and kept at the Israel Museum for the last 50 years, was blank. (Haaretz)