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Occasionally, a piece of broken pottery may be referred to as a shard. While the spelling shard is generally reserved for referring to fragments of glass vessels the term does not exclude pottery fragments. The etymology is connected with the idea of breakage, from Old English sceard, related to Old Norse skarth, "notch", and Middle High German scharte, "notch".
A sherd or potsherd that has been used by having writing painted or inscribed on it can be more precisely referred to as an ostracon.