Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n.pl. Informal Fragments or splintered pieces; bits: The fragile dish broke into smithereens.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Fragments or splintered pieces; numerous tiny disconnected items.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.pl. Fragments; atoms; smithers.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Small fragments.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a collection of small fragments considered as a whole

Etymologies

From Irish Gaelic smidirīn, diminutive of smiodar, small fragment.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Irish smidiríní, diminutive form of smiodar ("fragment"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Blow ... to smithereens is too slangy for formal use; it is used in a quote further on in the Times article, and is the kind of vernacular phrase found in boys adventure comics.

    The atomic theory of sub-headings

  • "I think the best use you can put a rattlesnake to is to blow him into smithereens, which is what I am going to do."

    Two Boys in Wyoming A Tale of Adventure (Northwest Series, No. 3)

  • The monkey was literally knocked to "smithereens," and the pieces that still adhered together were daubed all over with mud.

    The Forest Exiles The Perils of a Peruvian Family in the Wilds of the Amazon

  • "That's thrue, sor," put in Corporal Macan, who had lately regained his stripes after a long spell of good behaviour that atoned for his debauch at the Cape which lost him his rank; the Irishman now being engaged in serving the bow gun of the gunboat with the utmost deliberation, taking steady aim with each shot which he pitched into the cavalier of the nearest battery and knocking the gun into "smithereens" at his third attempt, though, for every weapon of the enemy which we silenced they seemed to bring a hundred others to bear on us.

    Crown and Anchor Under the Pen'ant

  • "smithereens," and was about going to work upon the huge _stalagmite_ that blocked up the entrance, when he was interrupted by the Quan.

    Bruin The Grand Bear Hunt

  • "smithereens," or, as my companion more elegantly expressed it, "into the middle of next week."

    Ran Away to Sea

  • Readers may want to pop a Dramamine before reading Casey's account of the RSS Discovery, a British research vessel that was nearly pounded to smithereens by a massive storm in the North Atlantic in 2000.

    Susan Casey's "The Wave," on monstrous ocean waves, reviewed by John Lancaster

  • Rosen earned the title during a debate last week, when he responded to a question about the controversial proposed Islamic center near ground zero in New York City by saying "I think they should be allowed to build it, following the hijacking of an Iranian plane right into that building and blow it to smithereens."

    Mike Rosen Claims 'Worst Person' Title On Olbermann (VIDEO)

  • I think they should be allowed to build it, followed by the hijacking of an Iranian plane right into that building and blow it to smithereens.

    David Sirota: Denver Radio Host Mike Rosen Pushes for Terrorist Attack on Islamic Center Built in Lower Manhattan

  • It's sole purpose is to lock my head into place with bolts and hold it absolutely still on a steel table so that precisely aimed beams of radiation way more powerful than any DC diss-ray can zap the remnants of my brain tumor into smithereens day after day for the next six weeks.

    Craig Crawford: Revenge of the Mask

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