Definition of piece noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//piːs//
    ; NAmE NAmE//piːs//
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    separate amount
  1. 1  [countable] piece (of something) (used especially with of and uncountable nouns) an amount of something that has been cut or separated from the rest of it; a standard amount of something a piece of string/wood She wrote something on a small piece of paper. a large piece of land a piece of cake/cheese/meat He cut the pizza into bite-sized pieces. I've got a piece of grit in my eye. Vocabulary BuildingPiecesIf you want to talk about a small amount or one example of something that is normally an uncountable noun, there is a range of words you can use. You must choose the right one to go with the substance you are talking about. Piece and (British English, informal) bit are very general words and can be used with most uncountable nouns:a piece of paper/​wood/​string/​cake/​fruit/​meat/​work/​research/​advice a bit of paper/​work/​chocolate/​luck. A slice is a thin flat piece:a slice of bread/​cake/​salami/​cheese/​pie/​apple (figurative) a slice of life A chunk is a thick, solid piece:a chunk of cheese/​bread/​rock a chunk of land (= a fairly large piece) A lump is a piece of something solid without any particular shape:a lump of coal/​rock/​mud A fragment is a very small piece of something that is broken or damagedfragments of glass (figurative) fragments of conversation. It can also be used with countable nouns to mean a small part of somethinga fragment of the story. A speck is a tiny piece of powder:a speck of dust/​dirt. You can also say:a speck of light Drop is used with liquids:a drop of water/​rain/​blood/​milk/​whisky A pinch is as much as you can hold between your finger and thumb:a pinch of salt/​cinnamon A portion is enough for one person:a portion of chicken
  2. part
  3. 2  [countable, usually plural] one of the bits or parts that something breaks into There were tiny pieces of glass all over the road. The boat had been smashed to pieces on the rocks. The vase lay in pieces on the floor.
  4. 3  [countable] one of the parts that something is made of He took the clock to pieces. a missing piece of the puzzle The bridge was taken down piece by piece. a 500-piece jigsaw see also one-piece, two-piece, three-piece
  5. single item
  6. 4  [countable] (used especially with of and uncountable nouns) a single item of a particular type, especially one that forms part of a set a piece of clothing/furniture/luggage a piece of equipment/machinery a 28-piece dinner service
  7. 5  [countable] piece of something used with many uncountable nouns to describe a single example or an amount of something a piece of advice/information/news an interesting piece of research Isn't that a piece of luck?
  8. 6  [countable] piece (of something) a single item of writing, art, music, etc. that somebody has produced or created a piece of art/music/poetry, etc. They performed pieces by Bach and Handel. (formal) They have some beautiful pieces (= works of art, etc.) in their home. see also masterpiece, museum piece, party piece, period piece, showpiece
  9. news article
  10. 7[countable] an article in a newspaper or magazine or a broadcast on television or radio Did you see her piece about the Internet in the paper today? see also set piece See related entries: Journalism
  11. coin
  12. 8[countable] a coin of the value mentioned a 50p piece a five-cent piece
  13. in chess, etc.
  14. 9[countable] one of the small figures or objects that you move around in games such as chess
  15. share of something
  16. 10[singular] piece of something (especially North American English) a part or share of something companies seeking a piece of the market
  17. gun
  18. 11[countable] (North American English, slang) a gun
  19. distance
  20. 12a piece [singular] (old-fashioned, North American English, informal) a short distance She lives down the road a piece from here. You will find other compounds ending in piece at their place in the alphabet.
  21. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French piece (compare with medieval Latin pecia, petium), of obscure ultimate origin.Extra examples A few pieces of the puzzle were missing. Can I take this jigsaw to pieces? He hasn’t produced a single piece of writing this year. I had to take the car to pieces in order to repair it. I just need to get a few bits and pieces at the supermarket. My old dictionary is falling to pieces. She makes her sculptures out of odd pieces of scrap metal. She read a piece from ‘Alice in Wonderland’. She tore the letter into tiny pieces. The album is made up of bits and pieces from previous albums. The best pieces include three paintings by El Greco. The book breaks the information into bite-sized pieces. The cake just broke into pieces when I cut it. The plate smashed into little pieces on the stone floor. The vase was now in pieces on the kitchen floor. They are exhibiting two important pieces by Calder. This chair comes to pieces. This is an effective piece of writing. We’ll need to take the engine apart, piece by piece. a companion piece to the portrait of Gauguin’s empty chair a piece for symphony orchestra, choir and four soloists a piece of bread a short piece by Will Simons on television satire an occasional piece on the lives of ordinary people an original piece written specifically for the producer Auditioning students are required to play a solo piece of their choice. He broke the clock down into pieces. He took the clock to pieces. I’ve got a piece of grit in my eye. It was an interesting piece of research. She’s been doing a 500-piece jigsaw. The bridge was taken down piece by piece. The documentary was in fact a heavily biased hit piece. The magazine ran a puff piece on him last week. The orchestra performed pieces by Ravel and Prokofiev. There had to be some missing piece of the story. They have some beautiful pieces in their home. You should have at least two good portions of vegetables and two pieces of fruit a day.Idioms (British English, informal) small objects or items of various kinds She stuffed all her bits and pieces into a bag and left.
    1. 1  (usually used in the progressive tenses) (of things) to become very old and in bad condition because of long use synonym fall apart Our car is falling to pieces, we've had it so long.
    2. 2  (of a person, an organization, a plan, etc.) to stop working; to be destroyed He's worried the business will fall to pieces without him.
    give somebody a piece of your mind
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    (informal) to tell somebody that you disapprove of their behaviour or are angry with them See related entries: Anger
    (informal) (of a person) to be so upset or afraid that you cannot manage to live or work normally After his wife died he just went to pieces.
    how long is a piece of string?
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    (British English, informal) used to say that there is no definite answer to a question ‘How long will it take?’ ‘How long's a piece of string?’
    (informal) safe; not damaged or hurt, especially after a journey or dangerous experience They were lucky to get home in one piece. (British English, informal) a person who is unpleasant, unkind or dishonest Don’t trust him; he’s a nasty piece of work.
      (all) of a piece (formal)
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    1. 1all the same or similar The houses are all of a piece.
    2. 2all at the same time The house was built all of a piece in 1754.
    pick/pull/tear somebody/something to pieces/shreds
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    (informal) to criticize somebody, or their work or ideas, very severely
    to return or to help somebody return to a normal situation, particularly after a shock or a disaster You cannot live your children's lives for them; you can only be there to pick up the pieces when things go wrong.
    a piece/slice of the action
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    (informal) a share or role in an interesting or exciting activity, especially in order to make money Foreign firms will all want a piece of the action if the new airport goes ahead.
    (informal) a thing that is very easy to do
    a piece/slice/share of the pie
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    a share of something such as money, profits, etc.
    (British English, taboo, slang) a thing that is very easy to do (North American English, informal) used to express the fact that you admire somebody or find them amusing, often when they have done something that surprises you You're some piece of work, Jack, do you know that? to say exactly what you feel or think
    the villain of the piece
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    (especially humorous) the person or thing that is responsible for all the trouble in a situation It’s hard to identify the real villain of the piece in this case.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: piece