Etymology
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fragment (n.)
early 15c., "small piece or part," from Latin fragmentum "a fragment, remnant," literally "a piece broken off," from base of frangere "to break" (from PIE root *bhreg- "to break").
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fragment (v.)
by 1788 (implied in fragmented), from fragment (n.). Intransitive use from 1961. Related: Fragmenting.
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fragmentation (n.)
"a breaking up into parts," 1842, noun of action from fragment (v.). Fragmentation grenade attested from 1918.
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fragmentary (adj.)
1610s, but mainly a dictionary word until early 19c., from fragment (n.) + -ary. Fragmental was used from 1798.
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defragment (v.)

1992, "reduce the fragmentation of (computer files) by reuniting parts stored in separate locations on a disk," from de- + fragment (v.) . Related: Defragmented; defragmenting.

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*bhreg- 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to break."

It forms all or part of: anfractuous; Brabant; bracken; brake (n.1) "stopping device for a wheel;" brake (n.2) "kind of fern;" brash; breach; break; breccia; breeches; brioche; chamfer; defray; diffraction; fractal; fraction; fractious; fracture; fragile; fragility; fragment; frail; frangible; infraction; infringe; irrefragable; irrefrangible; naufragous; ossifrage; refract; refraction; refrain (n.); refrangible; sassafras; saxifrage; suffragan; suffrage.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit (giri)-bhraj "breaking-forth (out of the mountains);" Latin frangere "to break (something) in pieces, shatter, fracture;" Lithuanian braškėti "crash, crack;" Old Irish braigim "break wind;" Gothic brikan, Old English brecan "to break."

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shard (n.)

also sherd, "piece or fragment," especially "piece of baked clay, piece of broken pottery or tile," from Old English sceard "incision, cleft, gap; potshard, a fragment, broken piece," from Proto-Germanic *skardaz (source also of 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 PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut."

Meaning "fragment of broken earthenware" developed in late Old English. Also used, by Gower (late 14c.), as "scale of a dragon." French écharde "prickle, splinter" is a Germanic loan-word.

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potsherd (n.)

"piece or fragment of an earthenware pot," mid-14c., from pot (n.1) + Middle English schoord, from Old English sceard "fragment" (see shard). An early form of it was also pot scarth, from Middle English scarth "a pottery fragment" (c. 1400; 12c. in place-names), from Old Norse skarð, apparently a cognate of Old English sceard, though attested only as "notch, mountain pass," but compare Old Swedish scarþer "splinter."

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smithereens (n.)
"small fragments," 1810, smiddereens, from Irish smidirin, diminutive of smiodar "fragment," perhaps with diminutive ending as in Colleen.
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flinders (n.)
"pieces, fragments, splinters," mid-15c., Scottish flendris, probably related to Norwegian flindra "chip, splinter," or Dutch flenter "fragment;" ultimately from the same PIE root that produced flint.
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