I. piece 1 S1 W1 /piːs/ BrE AmE noun [countable]
[ Date: 1100-1200 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: Vulgar Latin pettia ]
1 . AMOUNT an amount of something that has been separated from the main part
He broke off a piece of bread and gave it her.
Cut off a piece of wood 5 cm in length.
His trousers were held up with a piece of string.
Would you like a small or a large piece?
cut/divide etc something into pieces
She cut the cake into four equal pieces.
Chop the potato into bite-sized pieces.
2 . PART one of the parts that something divides or breaks into
a piece of broken glass
Individual pieces of text can be cut and pasted to their correct position.
The china dish lay in pieces on the floor.
His father had taught him how to take a gun to pieces.
The shelving comes to pieces (=divides into separate parts) for easy transport.
The shower head just came to pieces (=broke into separate parts) in my hand.
The fireplace was carefully dismantled piece by piece (=one part at a time) .
3 . SINGLE ITEM a single thing of a particular type, or something that is one of several similar things
Pass me another piece of paper.
You should eat three pieces of fruit a day.
She was wearing a single piece of jewellery.
You need to examine every piece of evidence first.
an excellent piece of work
a major piece of legislation
a piece of equipment
four-piece/60-piece etc (=consisting of four, 60 etc separate parts)
a five-piece band
a three-piece suite (=two chairs and a ↑ sofa )
4 . SMALL AMOUNT [usually singular] a small amount of something that is interesting, useful, or unusual in some way
piece of advice/information/gossip etc
Let me give you a piece of advice.
We’re witnessing a piece of history in the making.
piece of luck/good fortune
It really was an extraordinary piece of luck.
5 . LAND an area of land
a piece of waste ground
a dispute about a piece of land
6 . fall to pieces
a) to become old and in bad condition:
All my clothes are falling to pieces.
They’ve let that lovely old house fall to pieces around them.
b) to no longer be successful or working well:
The economy is falling to pieces.
7 . go to pieces if a person or what they do goes to pieces, they are so upset or nervous that they cannot live, work, or perform as they should:
He just went to pieces after his wife died.
Her performance goes to pieces when her father is watching.
8 . smash/rip/tear something to pieces to damage something badly by breaking it into many parts:
His arm was ripped to pieces by a shark.
Wear thick gloves, otherwise you’ll tear your fingers to pieces.
9 . pull/rip/tear somebody/something to pieces to criticize someone or their ideas very severely:
Donna could tear your work to pieces, and frequently did.
10 . ART/MUSIC ETC something that has been produced by an artist, musician, or writer
piece of music/writing/sculpture etc
some unusual pieces of sculpture
The LSO will perform a much-loved concert piece.
11 . NEWS ITEM a short ↑ article in a newspaper or magazine or part of a television or radio programme that is about a particular subject
Did you read that piece in ‘The Observer’ about censorship?
Robert wrote a short piece on the earthquake.
12 . in one piece informal if you arrive somewhere in one piece, you are not injured:
Cheer up. At least you’re still in one piece.
Ring Mum and let her know we got here in one piece.
13 . give somebody a piece of your mind informal to tell someone that you are very angry with them:
After the game he gave the players a piece of his mind.
14 . be a piece of cake informal to be very easy to do:
Landing this type of aircraft is a piece of cake for an experienced pilot.
15 . be a piece of piss British English spoken not polite to be very easy to do
16 . a piece of the action informal a share of the money from a business activity:
And will foreign firms get a piece of the action?
17 . be (all) of a piece
a) if the things someone says or does are all of a piece, they are part of the typical behaviour of that person
be (all) of a piece with
Sexist language is all of a piece with the way some men treat women.
b) to be the same or similar in all parts:
The architecture here is all of a piece.
18 . MONEY
a) a coin of a particular value
ten pence/50-cent etc piece
Have you change for a 50-cent piece?
b) old use a coin:
Robert slipped two gold pieces into the man’s hand.
19 . GAMES a small object used in a game such as ↑ chess
20 . GUN American English informal a small gun
21 . be a (real) piece of work spoken informal especially American English to be someone who does nasty things or deceives people in order to get what they want
22 . be a piece of shit/crap spoken not polite used to show that you do not respect someone or something they say
23 . piece of ass American English informal not polite an offensive expression for a woman. Do not use this expression.
⇨ how long is a piece of string? at ↑ long 1 (9)
• • •
▪ piece an amount of something that has been cut or separated from the main part:
Could I have another piece of cake?
a piece of broken glass
Emma cut the pie into eight pieces.
▪ bit a piece. Bit is more informal than piece and is often used about smaller pieces:
The notes were written on bits of paper.
He threw a bit of wood onto the fire.
▪ lump a small piece of something solid or firm that does not have a regular shape:
two lumps of sugar
a lump of coal
a lump of clay
▪ scrap a small piece of paper, cloth etc that is no longer needed:
I wrote the phone number on a scrap of paper.
The dog was eating scraps of food off the floor.
▪ strip a long narrow piece of cloth, paper etc:
a strip of cloth
The leather had been cut into strips.
▪ sheet a thin flat piece of something such as paper, glass, or metal:
a blank sheet of paper
a sheet of aluminium
▪ slice a thin flat piece of bread, cake, meat etc cut from a larger piece:
a slice of pizza
Cut the tomatoes into thin slices.
▪ chunk a piece of something solid that does not have a regular shape – used especially about food, rock, or metal:
The fruit was cut into large chunks.
a chunk of bread
▪ hunk a large piece with rough edges, which has been cut or has broken off a bigger piece of food, rock etc:
a big hunk of cheese
hunks of concrete
▪ block a piece of something solid, which has straight sides:
a block of cheese
a block of ice
▪ slab a thick flat piece of stone, or of cake, meat etc:
The floor had been made from stone slabs.
a slab of beef
▪ cube a piece that has six square sides – used especially about food:
a cube of sugar
▪ wedge a piece that has a thick end and a pointed end, and is shaped like a ↑ triangle – used especially about food and metal:
a wedge of cheese
▪ bar a block of soap, chocolate, candy, or metal, which has straight sides:
a chocolate bar
a bar of soap
gold bars worth more than £26 million
▪ rasher British English a slice of bacon:
I usually have two rashers of bacon for breakfast.
■ a small piece
▪ fragment a small piece that has broken off something, especially something hard:
The window shattered, covering them with fragments of glass.
They found fragments of bone.
▪ crumb a very small piece of bread, cake etc:
There were just a few crumbs left on the plate.
▪ speck a piece of something such as dirt or dust which is so small you almost cannot see it:
She brushed the specks of dust from the table.
▪ drop a very small amount of a liquid:
There were drops of blood on the floor.
I felt a drop of rain.
■ COLLOCATIONS CHECK
▪ lump of sugar/rock/metal/earth
▪ scrap of paper
▪ strip of cloth/paper
▪ sheet of paper/metal/glass
▪ slice of bread/pizza/cake/meat
▪ chunk of fruit/bread
▪ block of ice/stone/wood
▪ slab of rock/stone/meat
▪ bar of soap/chocolate/candy/metal
▪ rasher of bacon
▪ speck of dirt/dust
▪ drop of blood/rain/liquid
II. piece 2 BrE AmE verb
piece something ↔ together phrasal verb
1 . to use all the information you have about a situation in order to discover the truth about it:
Police are trying to piece together his movements before the murder.
Her early life has been pieced together from several different sources.
2 . to put all the separate parts of an object into the correct order or position:
He slowly pieced together the torn fragments of a letter.