also sherd, 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. Used late 14c. as "scale of a dragon." French écharde "prickle, splinter" is a Germanic loan-word.