Definition of piece in English:

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Pronunciation: /pēs/


1A portion of an object or of material, produced by cutting, tearing, or breaking the whole: a piece of cheese the dish lay in pieces upon the floor she tore his letters to pieces
More example sentences
  • In a second the whole sword was broken in pieces and Kashiro's attack continued.
  • Sections of main roads are completely broken to pieces.
  • Then she took out a lump of sandalwood from the wall cupboard, washed it, broke it in pieces, dissolved it in water and cleaned her face and arms with the paste.
bit, slice, chunk, segment, section, lump, hunk, wedge, slab, block, cake, bar, cube, stick, length;
offcut, sample, fragment, sliver, splinter, wafer, chip, crumb, scrap, remnant, shred, shard, snippet;
mouthful, morsel
1.1One of the items that were put together to make something and into which it naturally divides: take a car to pieces
More example sentences
  • The scribble is constructed from 229 separate pieces of steel, weighs 25 tonnes and has 72 twists.
  • All of the pieces are cast or constructed in nonferrous metals, so that they resonate musically.
  • Sometimes pieces of the construct will be inserted as well as, or instead of, the full construct.
component, part, bit, section, segment, constituent, element;
unit, module
1.2An item of a particular type, especially one forming one of a set: a piece of luggage
More example sentences
  • We treat house plants like a piece of the furniture that fills the same space in a room all year round.
  • The group consists of 32 dancers, eight singers and a 13 - piece band.
  • Five female vocalists belted out soul classics backed by a 14 - piece band.
1.3An instance or example: a crucial piece of evidence
More example sentences
  • Changing the public mood would require three crucial pieces of evidence.
  • But the crucial piece of evidence would be a description of a possible attacker.
  • It also showed that a crucial piece of evidence was a baseball cap dropped by the murderer as he ran from the off licence.
item, article, specimen
1.4A financial share: each employee owns a piece of the company
More example sentences
  • When you buy a share of stock, you purchase a piece of the company. You become part owner of the company.
  • Unlike buying equity, investors do not own a piece of the company or government entity.
  • You can now give the gift of share ownership to a fan of The Walt Disney Company so they can own a piece of the company.
share, portion, slice, quota, part, bit, percentage, amount, quantity, ration, fraction, division
informal cut
1.5A written, musical, or artistic creation or composition: a hauntingly beautiful piece of music
More example sentences
  • We're not trying to just write songs, we're trying to write musical pieces.
  • His close friendships with women produced some of the best-known pieces of music ever written by any composer; but they did not secure him a wife.
  • A child prodigy, he wrote his first piece of music at the age of five and completed his first symphony at the age of eight.
work (of art), creation, production;
composition, opus
article, item, story, report, essay, study, review, composition, column
1.6A coin of specified value: a 10-cent piece
More example sentences
  • Is there any risk that the two euro coin will be mistaken for the Thai 10 baht piece, whose face value is eight times less?
  • They also included a selection of threepenny bits, a 1916 halfpenny and a penny piece from 1921.
  • Well, you have to admit it's slightly more plausible than upping the value of the penny piece to £1.
1.7A figure or token used to make moves in a board game.
Example sentences
  • She was sat on her desk, moving some puzzles' pieces, trying to figure out something, maybe an image, or a letter.
  • Knowing this, you can try and figure out which pieces are which simply by how they're being moved.
  • It was an abstract race game called Tempo in which pieces were moved not by the roll of the dice, but by the playing of cards.
token, counter, man, disk, chip, marker
1.8 Chess A king, queen, bishop, knight, or rook, as opposed to a pawn.
Example sentences
  • Here, however, you will find more coverage of endgames with more pieces and pawns.
  • This can be done by a pawn break or by a sacrifice involving pieces or pawns.
  • Though the Queen is the strongest piece, it is vulnerable to attack by weaker enemy units.
1.9 informal, chiefly North American A firearm.
Example sentences
  • Not every man knows his way around a shooting piece, but firearms are a manly art.
  • It will be surrounded by a two metre-deep trench and have only one entrance, which will be protected by artillery pieces and machine gun posts.
  • The cavalry turned in its horses for pack mules because mules could carry artillery pieces through rugged terrain.
1.10 informal, offensive A woman.


[with object]
1 (piece something together) Assemble something from individual parts: the children took turns piecing together each other’s jigsaw puzzle
More example sentences
  • In order to cover all the sky with a single beam, astronomers must piece it together from millions of separate observations, each of a single point.
  • Here, two irregular hemispheres were pieced together, as evidenced by a prominent groove that runs around the middle.
  • She says ‘I took this image of her in four separate images and pieced it together in Photoshop.’
1.1Slowly make sense of something from separate facts and pieces of evidence: Daniel had pieced the story together from the radio
More example sentences
  • Anyone who has been awake and alert should have pieced the evidence together sufficiently to arrive at an understanding consistent with the one summarized in the Post story.
  • When the evidence is pieced together, it seems that evolution prepared what society later moulded: a brain to believe.
  • He's just got to judge the evidence as he pieces it together.
2 (piece something out) archaic Extend.
Example sentences
  • The Bishop simply "takes notice that the creed was pieced out."
3 archaic Patch: if it be broken it must be pieced
More example sentences
  • Many of the designs feature piecing fabric, colour blocking, quilting, and many are reversible as well.
  • Occasionally, a stenciled bedcover was pieced with traditional quilt blocks but was not quilted.
  • No matter how she pieced them, they contorted into something unacceptable.



a piece of ass (or tail)

vulgar slang A person, usually a woman, regarded as a sexual partner.

a piece of cake

see cake.

a piece of the action

informal A share in the excitement of something.
Example sentences
  • Publishers, software makers, entertainment companies, and universities themselves are lining up to take a slice of the action.
  • They will now aspire to having a slice of the action.
  • It's no wonder that the players want a slice of the action.
3.1A share in the profits accruing from something.
Example sentences
  • Since the chiller cabinet is proving to be so profitable, many big brands are understandably keen to get a slice of the action.
  • But if you can get a slice of the action, or pick some shares up in the grey market, go for it.
  • And with that, as the web and related technologies begin to wield more and more influence, someone somewhere is bound to notice - and want as big a slice of the action as they can get.

go to pieces

Become so nervous or upset that one is unable to behave or perform normally.
Example sentences
  • We were not complacent and we started off well but they had a lucky break and we went to pieces.
  • Her parents split when she was young, and her mother just… went to pieces.
  • Some of them go to pieces, some disintegrate, but others rebel.
have a breakdown, break down, go out of one's mind, lose control, lose one's head, fall apart
informal crack up, lose it, come/fall apart at the seams, freak, freak out

in one piece

Unharmed or undamaged, especially after a dangerous experience.
Example sentences
  • He is expected to perform at this team, just as he did at Williams, but he is also expected to score points by bringing the car home in one piece.
  • I was given a prompt refusal when I asked for a guarantee that my computer would reach Delhi in one piece.
  • When you meddle with them, you are lucky if you come out all in one piece.
unbroken, entire, whole, intact, undamaged, unharmed
unhurt, uninjured, unscathed, safe, safe and sound
broken, in bits, shattered, smashed
informal bust, busted, in smithereens

(all) of a piece (with something)

(Entirely) consistent (with something): his rejection of health-care reform is of a piece with his general disregard for the underprivileged
More example sentences
  • It is a beautiful object, all of a piece and remarkably consistent.
  • But it's also clear that this kind of ethnography and nature worship is thoroughly of a piece with her earlier work.
  • The covers are of a piece with the whole issue, setting a low-key and intriguing tone.

piece by piece

In slow and small stages.
Example sentences
  • This report is another indication that depression is gradually being figured out piece by piece.
  • Despite these obstacles, unification is gradually proving possible, piece by piece.
  • So piece by piece, we're putting this puzzle together and we're getting closer to solving the problem.

say one's piece

Give one’s opinion or make a prepared statement.
Example sentences
  • You said your piece, and nobody else's opinion seemed to matter.
  • And in the end, Kate says her piece, eventually sealing the contest.
  • The family filtered through into an antechamber and the friends passed by us all one at a time, saying their piece.

tear (or rip) someone/something to pieces

Criticize someone or something harshly.
Example sentences
  • The Reds' semi-final exit at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen has led to yet another onslaught by those critics who relish pulling United to pieces.
  • Last week he told friends: ‘Over the 24 hours after hearing from Budd about the e-mails, I knew that my reputation would be pulled to pieces.’
  • If the left is supposed to be about internationalism and solidarity then the arguments of the anti-war left can be pulled to pieces in five minutes.


Middle English: from Old French piece (compare with medieval Latin pecia, petium), of obscure ultimate origin.

Words that rhyme with piece

anis, apiece, Berenice, caprice, cassis, cease, coulisse, crease, Dumfries, fils, fleece, geese, grease, Greece, kris, lease, Lucrece, MacNeice, Matisse, McAleese, Nice, niece, obese, peace, pelisse, police, Rees, Rhys, set piece, sublease, surcease, two-piece, underlease

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: piece

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