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

  • n. A thing considered as a unit or an element of a larger thing, quantity, or class; a portion: a piece of string.
  • n. A portion or part that has been separated from a whole: a piece of cake.
  • n. An object that is one member of a group or class: a piece of furniture.
  • n. An artistic, musical, or literary work or composition: "They are lively and well-plotted pieces, both in prose” ( Tucker Brooke).
  • n. An instance; a specimen: a piece of sheer folly.
  • n. A declaration of one's opinions or findings: speak one's piece.
  • n. A coin: a ten-cent piece.
  • n. Games One of the counters or figures used in playing various board games.
  • n. Games Any one of the chess figures other than a pawn.
  • n. Slang A firearm, especially a rifle.
  • n. Informal A given distance: "There was farm country down the road on the right a piece” ( James Agee).
  • n. Vulgar Slang A sexually attractive person.
  • transitive v. To mend by adding pieces or a piece to.
  • transitive v. To join or unite the pieces of: He pieced together the vase. She pieced together an account of what had gone on during the stormy meeting.
  • idiom a piece of (one's) mind Frank and severe criticism; censure.
  • idiom of a piece Belonging to the same class or kind.
  • idiom piece by piece In stages: took the clock apart piece by piece.
  • idiom piece of cake Informal Something very easy to do: "Relearning to fly was a piece of cake” ( Burton Bernstein).
  • idiom piece of the action Slang A share of an activity or of profits: "a piece of the action in a Florida land deal” ( Shana Alexander).
  • idiom piece of work A remarkable person, achievement, or product: "He's a very tough piece of work” ( Ted Koppel).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A part of a larger whole, usually in such a form that it is able to be separated from other parts.
  • n. A single item belonging to a class of similar items: as, for example, a piece of machinery, a piece of software.
  • n. One of the small objects played in board games, e.g. a pawn or a draught.
  • n. A coin, especially one valued at less than the principal unit of currency.
  • n. An artistic creation, such as a painting, sculpture, musical composition, literary work, etc.
  • n. An artillery gun.
  • n. (short for hairpiece); a toupee or wig, usually when worn by a man.
  • n. A slice or other quantity of bread, eaten on its own; a sandwich or light snack.
  • n. A gun.
  • n. A sexual encounter; from piece of ass or piece of tail
  • n. (short for "piece of crap") a shoddy or worthless object, usually applied to consumer products like vehicles or appliances.
  • n. A cannabis pipe.
  • n. Used to describe a pitch that has been hit but not well, usually either being caught by the opposing team or going foul. Usually used in the past tense with got, and never used in the plural.
  • v. To reassemble (something real or figurative).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A fragment or part of anything separated from the whole, in any manner, as by cutting, splitting, breaking, or tearing; a part; a portion
  • n. A definite portion or quantity, as of goods or work
  • n. Any one thing conceived of as apart from other things of the same kind; an individual article; a distinct single effort of a series; a definite performance.
  • n. A literary or artistic composition.
  • n. A musket, gun, or cannon.
  • n. A coin; ; -- formerly applied specifically to an English gold coin worth 22 shillings.
  • n. A fact; an item.
  • n. An individual; -- applied to a person as being of a certain nature or quality; often, but not always, used slightingly or in contempt.
  • n. One of the superior men, distinguished from a pawn.
  • n. A castle; a fortified building.
  • intransitive v. To unite by a coalescence of parts; to fit together; to join.
  • transitive v. To make, enlarge, or repair, by the addition of a piece or pieces; to patch; ; -- often with out.
  • transitive v. To unite; to join; to combine.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To patch, repair, enlarge, extend, or complete by the addition of a piece or pieces: as, to piece a garment or a curtain.
  • To repair by the use of pieces of the same material, or without the addition of new material, as by bringing the unworn parts to the place where the most wear is; hence, to make good the defects of; strengthen; reinforce.
  • To unite or reunite (that which has been broken or separated); make one again; join or rejoin, as one thing to another, or as friends who have fallen out.
  • To unite by coalescence of parts; be gathered as parts into a whole.
  • To eat a “piece”; eat between meals, as a child.
  • n. A relatively small portion in bulk or extent forming a part of the whole in which it is or was included; a part; bit; morsel: as, a piece of bread or of chalk; a piece of ground; a piece of history; a piece of one's mind.
  • n. A separate bit; a fragment: as, to fall to pieces; to break, tear, cut, or dash to pieces.
  • n. A specimen, instance, example, or sort: as, a piece of impudence; a piece of carelessness.
  • n. A separate article; a thing: as, a piece of plate.
  • n. A coin: as, a piece of eight (see phrase below); a fourpenny piece.
  • n. A cannon or gun; a firearm: as, his piece was not loaded; a fowling-piece.
  • n. A building; a castle.
  • n. A ship; a vessel.
  • n. A distinct artistic or literary production; a separate article, poem, drama, painting, statue, or other artistic or literary work: as, a piece of music; to speak a piece; a finely painted piece.
  • n. A lunch; a snack.
  • n. A distinct job or operation taken separately; the amount of work done or to be done at any one time: as, to work by the piece; to do piece-work.
  • n. A definite and continuous quantity; a definite length, as of some textile fabric delivered by a manufacturer to the trade; a whole web of cloth or a whole roll of wall-paper: as, goods sold only by the piece; a whole piece of lace.
  • n. In brewing, a quantity of grain steeped and spread out at one time to make malt. Also called floor.
  • n. A plot of ground; a lot; a field; a clearing.
  • n. An individual; a person: now used only contemptuously, and commonly of women: as, she is a bold piece.
  • n. In chess, checkers, etc., one of the men with which the game is played; specifically, in chess, one of the superior men, as distinguished from a pawn.
  • n. A cup or drinking-vessel: also used indefinitely for a cask or barrel of wine, as the equivalent of the French pièce, which has different values in different parts of France.
  • n. In bookbinding, a tablet of leather which fills a panel on the back of a book.
  • n. In whaling, specifically, a section or chunk of blubber, more fully called blanket-piece (which see, below).
  • n. In entomology, any definitely hardened or chitinized part of the integument, especially of the abdomen, thorax, or head: technically called a sclerite.
  • n. See the qualifying words.
  • n. A small portion of time; a little while.
  • n. In fireworks, a piece, more or less elaborate, which is fastened to a standard, and when it is ignited, shows a design, such as a face, etc.

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

  • v. to join or unite the pieces of
  • v. join during spinning
  • n. game equipment consisting of an object used in playing certain board games
  • n. a share of something
  • n. an item that is an instance of some type
  • n. a distance
  • n. an artistic or literary composition
  • n. a portion of a natural object
  • n. a serving that has been cut from a larger portion
  • v. repair by adding pieces
  • n. a musical work that has been created
  • n. a portable gun
  • v. create by putting components or members together
  • n. a period of indeterminate length (usually short) marked by some action or condition
  • n. an instance of some kind
  • v. eat intermittently; take small bites of
  • n. a work of art of some artistic value
  • n. a separate part of a whole


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

Middle English pece, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *pettia, probably of Celtic origin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English pece, from Anglo-Norman peece, peice et al. and Old French pece, piece et al., apparently from Late Latin *pettia, *pettium. Ultimate origin uncertain; perhaps from Transalpine Gaulish (compare Welsh peth, Breton pez ("thing"), Irish cuid ("part")).


  • The seven shorts included all have winter and holiday themes, naturally, including the title piece and "Bitzer's New Hat," "Snowed In" and the like.

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  • The main piece is a large rectangular cardboard box, which fits nicely between the patio steps and the unused western gate.

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  • In the title piece of Steven Millhauser's collection of new and selected stories, "We Others" Knopf, 387 pages, $27.95 , the "we" refers to phantoms who infiltrate picket-fenced suburbia—becoming "the companions of lawn mowers in toolsheds, of gas grills beside tarp-covered woodpiles"—and who try in vain to join the lives of the people who live there.

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  • Nora Ephron worries about a failing memory in the title piece of "I Remember Nothing," her inviting new collection of essays.

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  • The sumthin 'Nariani worked up for "ILLhaam" was the surprise aerial choreography of the title piece, shown in the video above I shot it from my seat; a professionally-produced video will be available by the holidays on DVD, which brought a Cirque du Soleil-like element of graceful movement to the precision movements of the dancers grounded on the stage.

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  • I reminded myself that I had missed my regular writing session yesterday, and then I remembered something Joan Didion wrote in the preface to Slouching Towards Bethlehem about writing the title piece:

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  • In the title piece, a young woman is willingly seduced by a wealthy landowner while allowing herself to imagine that she might be accepted by society.

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  • It explodes with the title piece "Ten Sigmas", about a man connected to all his other selfs in alternate worlds and trying to stop a crime, and never lets up.

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  • It's interesting that Todd Haynes chose this obscure song as the title piece for his film, but it does represent in some ways Dylan's own mercurial, artfully dodging persona, which I take to be one of the film's primary concerns, as it supposedly casts seven different actors as Bob Dylan at different phases of his career.

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  • Matt, my favorite LeGuin piece is actu­ally nonfiction.

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  • September 9, 2007