/ piːs; NAmE / noun , verb
[ C ] piece (of sth) (used especially with of and uncountable nouns) an amount of sth that has been cut or separated from the rest of it; a standard amount of sth :
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.
[ C , usually pl. ] one of the bits or parts that sth 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.
[ C ] one of the parts that sth 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
[ C ] (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
[ C ] piece of sth used with many uncountable nouns to describe a single example or an amount of sth :
a piece of advice / information / news
an interesting piece of research
Isn't that a piece of luck ?
[ C ] piece (of sth) a single item of writing, art, music, etc. that sb 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
[ C ] 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
[ C ] a coin of the value mentioned :
a 50p piece
a five-cent piece
IN CHESS, etc.
[ C ] one of the small figures or objects that you move around in games such as chess
—picture at backgammon
SHARE OF STH
[ sing. ] piece of sth ( especially NAmE ) a part or share of sth :
companies seeking a piece of the market
[ C ] ( NAmE , slang ) a gun
a piece [ sing. ] ( old-fashioned , NAmE , informal ) a short distance :
She lives down the road a piece from here.
HELP NOTE : You will find other compounds ending in piece at their place in the alphabet.
- a / some piece of work
- fall to pieces
- give sb a piece of your mind
- go to pieces
- (all) in one piece
- (all) of a piece
- pick / pull / tear sb/sth to pieces / shreds
- a piece of cake
- a piece of piss
—more at action , bit , long adjective , nasty , pick verb , pie , say verb , villain
- piece sth together
If 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 ( BrE , 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 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 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
Middle English : from Old French piece (compare with medieval Latin pecia , petium ), of obscure ultimate origin.