Definition of piece noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary




separate amount

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 somethinga piece of string/woodShe wrote something on a small piece of paper.a large piece of landa piece of cake/cheese/meatHe cut the pizza into bite-sized pieces.I've got a piece of grit in my eye.


2 [countable, usually plural] one of the bits or parts that something breaks intoThere 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.3 [countable] one of the parts that something is made ofHe took the clock to pieces.a missing piece of the puzzleThe bridge was taken down piece by piece.a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle see also one-piece, two-piece, three-piece

single item

4 [countable] (used especially with of and uncountable nouns) a single item of a particular type, especially one that forms part of a seta piece of clothing/furniture/luggagea piece of equipment/machinerya 28-piece dinner service5 [countable] piece of something used with many uncountable nouns to describe a single example or an amount of somethinga piece of advice/information/newsan interesting piece of researchIsn't that a piece of luck?6 [countable] piece (of something) a single item of writing, art, music, etc. that someone has produced or createda 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, period piece, showpiece

news article

7 [countable] an article in a newspaper or magazine, or a broadcast on television or radioDid you see her piece about the Internet in the paper today? see also set piece


8 [countable] a coin of the value mentioneda five-cent piece

in chess, etc.

9 [countable] one of the small figures or objects that you move around in games such as chess

share of something

10 [singular] piece of something a part or share of somethingcompanies seeking a piece of the market


11 [countable] (slang) a gun


12 a piece [singular] (old-fashioned, informal) a short distanceShe lives down the road a piece from here.
help You will find other compounds ending in piece at their place in the alphabet.IDIOMS

bits and pieces

(informal) small objects or items of various kindsShe stuffed all the bits and pieces into a bag and left.bits and pieces

fall to pieces

1 (usually used in the progressive tenses) (of things) to become very old and in bad condition because of long use synonym fall apartOur car is falling to pieces, we've had it so long.2 (of a person, an organization, a plan, etc.) to stop working; to be destroyedHe's worried the business will fall to pieces without him.fall to pieces

give someone a piece of your mind

(informal) to tell someone that you disapprove of their behavior or are angry with themgive a piece of your mind

go to pieces

(informal) (of a person) to be so upset or afraid that you cannot manage to live or work normallyAfter his wife died he just went to pieces.go to pieces

(all) in one piece

(informal) safe; not damaged or hurt, especially after a journey or dangerous experienceThey were lucky to get home in one one pieceall in one piece

(all) of a piece

(formal)1 all the same or similarThe houses are all of a piece.2 all at the same timeThe house was built all of a piece in 1854.of a pieceall of a piece

pick/pull/tear someone/something to pieces/shreds

(informal) to criticize someone, or their work or ideas, very severelypick/tear to pieces/shredspull/tear to pieces/shreds

pick up the pieces

to return or to help someone 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.pick up the pieces

a piece of the action

(informal) a share or role in an interesting or exciting activity, especially in order to make moneyForeign firms will all want a piece of the action if the new airport goes ahead.a piece of the action

a piece of cake

(informal) a thing that is very easy to doa piece of cake

a piece/slice/share of the pie

a share of something such as money, profits, etc.
a piece/share of the piea slice/share of the pie

a/some piece of work

(informal) used to express the fact that you admire someone or find them amusing, often when they have done something that surprises youShe's a real piece of work.You're some piece of work, Jack, do you know that?a piece of worksome piece of work

say your piece

to say exactly what you feel or think
say your piece
Usage noteUsage note: Pieces of thingsIf 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 is a very general word and can be used with most uncountable nouns: a piece of paper/wood/string/cake/fruit/meat/work/research/adviceBit can be used with abstract uncountable nouns: a bit of luck/confidence/attentionA slice is a thin, flat piece: a slice of bread/cake/salami/cheese/pie/apple (figurative) a slice of lifeA 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/clayA fragment is a very small piece of something that is broken or damaged: fragments of glass (figurative) fragments of conversation. It can also be used with countable nouns to mean a small part of something: a fragment of the storyA speck is a tiny piece of powder: a speck of dust/dirt You can also say: a speck of lightDrop is used with liquids: a drop of water/rain/blood/milk/whiskeyA pinch is as much as you can hold between your finger and thumb: a pinch of salt/cinnamonA portion is enough for one person: a portion of chicken