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Webster 1913 Edition


Piece

Piece

,
Noun.
[OE.
pece
, F.
pièce
, LL.
pecia
,
petia
,
petium
, probably of Celtic origin; cf. W.
peth
a thing, a part, portion, a little, Armor.
pez
, Gael. & Ir.
cuid
part, share. Cf.
Petty
.]
1.
A fragment or part of anything separated from the whole, in any manner, as by cutting, splitting, breaking, or tearing; a part; a portion;
as, a
piece
of sugar; to break in
pieces
.
Bring it out
piece
by
piece
.
Ezek. xxiv. 6.
2.
A definite portion or quantity, as of goods or work;
as, a
piece
of broadcloth; a
piece
of wall paper.
3.
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
; especially:
(a)
A literary or artistic composition;
as, a
piece
of poetry, music, or statuary
.
(b)
A musket, gun, or cannon;
as, a battery of six
pieces
; a following
piece
.
(c)
A coin;
as, a sixpenny
piece
; – formerly applied specifically to an English gold coin worth 22 shillings.
(d)
A fact; an item;
as, a
piece
of news; a
piece
of knowledge
.
4.
An individual; – applied to a person as being of a certain nature or quality; often, but not always, used slightingly or in contempt.
“If I had not been a piece of a logician before I came to him.”
Sir P. Sidney.
Thy mother was a
piece
of virtue.
Shakespeare
His own spirit is as unsettled a
piece
as there is in all the world.
Coleridge.
5.
(Chess)
One of the superior men, distinguished from a pawn.
6.
A castle; a fortified building.
[Obs.]
Spenser.
Of a piece
,
of the same sort, as if taken from the same whole; like; – sometimes followed by with.
Dryden.
Piece of eight
,
the Spanish piaster, formerly divided into eight reals.
To give a piece of one’s mind to
,
to speak plainly, bluntly, or severely to (another).
Thackeray.
Piece broker
,
one who buys shreds and remnants of cloth to sell again.
Piece goods
,
goods usually sold by pieces or fixed portions, as shirtings, calicoes, sheetings, and the like.

Piece

,
Verb.
T.
[
imp. & p. p.
Pieced
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Piecing
.]
1.
To make, enlarge, or repair, by the addition of a piece or pieces; to patch;
as, to
piece
a garment
; – often with out.
Shak.
2.
To unite; to join; to combine.
Fuller.
His adversaries . . .
pieced
themselves together in a joint opposition against him.
Fuller.

Piece

,
Verb.
I.
To unite by a coalescence of parts; to fit together; to join.
“It pieced better.”
Bacon.

Webster 1828 Edition


Piece

PIECE

,
Noun.
[Heb. to cut off or clip.]
1.
A fragment or part of any thing separated from the whole, in any manner, by cutting, splitting, breaking or tearing; as, to cut in pieces, break in pieces, tear in pieces, pull in pieces, &c.; a piece of a rock; a piece of paper.
2.
A part of any thing, though not separated, or separated only in idea; not the whole; a portion; as a piece of excellent knowledge.
3.
A distinct part or quantity; a part considered by itself, or separated from the rest only by a boundary or divisional line; as a piece of land in the meadow or on the mountain.
4.
A separate part; a thing or portion distinct from others of a like kind; as a piece of timber; a piece of cloth; a piece of paper hangings.
5.
A composition, essay or writing of no great length; as a piece of poetry or prose; a piece of music.
6.
A separate performance; a distinct portion of labor; as a piece of work.
7.
A picture or painting.
If unnatural, the finest colors are but daubing,and the piece is a beautiful monster at the best.
8.
A coin; as a piece of eight.
9.
A gun or single part of ordnance. We apply the word to a cannon, a mortar, or a musket. Large guns are called battering pieces; smaller guns are called field pieces.
10. In heraldry, an ordinary or charge. The fess, the bend, the pale, the bar, the cross, the saltier, the chevron are called honorable pieces.
11. In ridicule or contempt. A piece of a lawyer is a smatterer.
12. A castle; a building. [Not in use.]
A-piece, to each; as, he paid the men a dollar a-piece.
Of a piece, like; of the same sort, as if taken from the same whole. They seemed all of a piece. Sometimes followed by with.
The poet must be of a piece with the spectators to gain reputation.

PIECE

,
Verb.
T.
To enlarge or mend by the addition of a piece; to patch; as, to piece a garment; to piece the time.
To piece out, to extend or enlarge by addition of a piece or pieces.

PIECE

,
Verb.
I.
To unite by coalescence of parts; to be compacted, as parts into a whole.

Definition 2021


piece

piece

See also: pièce

English

Alternative forms

Noun

piece (plural pieces)

  1. A part of a larger whole, usually in such a form that it is able to be separated from other parts.
    I'd like another piece of pie.
  2. A single item belonging to a class of similar items: as, for example, a piece of machinery, a piece of software.
    • 2013 July 20, Welcome to the plastisphere”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
      [The researchers] noticed many of their pieces of [plastic marine] debris sported surface pits around two microns across. Such pits are about the size of a bacterial cell. Closer examination showed that some of these pits did, indeed, contain bacteria, [].
  3. (chess) One of the figures used in playing chess, specifically a higher-value figure as distinguished from a pawn; by extension, a similar counter etc. in other games.
    • 1959, Hans Kmoch, Pawn Power in Chess, I:
      Pawns, unlike pieces, move only in one direction: forward.
  4. A coin, especially one valued at less than the principal unit of currency.
    a sixpenny piece
  5. An artistic creation, such as a painting, sculpture, musical composition, literary work, etc.
    She played two beautiful pieces on the piano.
  6. An artillery gun.
  7. (US, Canada, colloquial, short for hairpiece) A toupee or wig, especially when worn by a man.
    The announcer is wearing a new piece.
  8. (Scotland, Ireland, Britain dialectal, US dialectal) A slice or other quantity of bread, eaten on its own; a sandwich or light snack.
    • 2008, James Kelman, Kieron Smith, Boy, Penguin 2009, page 46:
      My grannie came and gived them all a piece and jam and cups of water then I was to bring them back out to the street and play a game.
  9. (US, colloquial) A gun.
    He's packin' a piece!
  10. (US, colloquial, vulgar) A sexual encounter; from piece of ass or piece of tail
    I got a piece at lunchtime.
  11. (US, colloquial, mildly vulgar, short for piece of crap/piece of ****) A shoddy or worthless object (usually applied to consumer products like vehicles or appliances).
    Ugh, my new computer is such a piece. I'm taking it back to the store tomorrow.
  12. (US, slang) A cannabis pipe.
  13. (baseball) 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.
    he got a piece of that one;  she got a piece of the ball [] and it's going foul.
  14. (dated, sometimes derogatory) An individual; a person.
    • Sir Philip Sidney
      If I had not been a piece of a logician before I came to him.
    • Shakespeare
      Thy mother was a piece of virtue.
    • Coleridge
      His own spirit is as unsettled a piece as there is in all the world.
  15. (obsolete) A castle; a fortified building.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Spenser to this entry?)
  16. (US) A pacifier.
  17. (colloquial) A distance.
    a far piece, located a fair piece away from their camp, a fair piece off

Synonyms

  • See also Wikisaurus:piece
  • See also Wikisaurus:musical composition

Usage notes

When used as a baseball term, the term is idiomatic in that the baseball is almost never broken into pieces. It is rare in modern baseball for the cover of a baseball to even partially tear loose. In professional baseball, several new, not previously played baseballs are used in each game.

It could be argued that the phrase was never meant (not even metaphorically) to refer to breaking the ball into pieces, and that "get a piece of the ball" means the bat contacts only a small area of the ball - in other words, that the ball is hit off-center. In that case "get" would mean "succeed in hitting", not "obtain".

Derived terms

See also

Chess pieces in English · chess pieces, chessmen (see also: chess) (layout · text)
♚ ♛ ♜ ♝ ♞ ♟
king queen castle, rook bishop knight pawn

Translations

See also

Verb

piece (third-person singular simple present pieces, present participle piecing, simple past and past participle pieced)

  1. (transitive, usually with together) To assemble (something real or figurative).
    These clues allowed us to piece together the solution to the mystery.
    • Fuller
      His adversaries [] pieced themselves together in a joint opposition against him.
  2. To make, enlarge, or repair, by the addition of a piece or pieces; to patch; often with out.
    to piece a garment
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  3. (slang) To produce a work of graffiti more complex than a tag.
    • 2009, Gregory J. Snyder, Graffiti Lives: Beyond the Tag in New York's Urban Underground (page 40)
      It is incorrect to say that toys tag and masters piece; toys just do bad tags, bad throw-ups, and bad pieces.
    • 2009, Scape Martinez, GRAFF: The Art & Technique of Graffiti (page 124)
      It is often used to collect other writer's tags, and future plans for bombing and piecing.

Derived terms


Middle French

Etymology

From Old French piece, from Vulgar Latin *pettia, from Gaulish *pettyā, from Proto-Celtic *kʷesdis (piece, portion).

Noun

piece f (plural pieces)

  1. piece, bit, part
  2. moment (duration of time)
    • 1488, Jean Dupré, Lancelot du Lac, page 75:
      Grant piece dura celle meslee
      The battle lasted a long time

Descendants

References

  • piece on Dictionnaire du Moyen Français (1330-1500) (in French)

Old French

Etymology

From Vulgar Latin *pettia, from Gaulish *pettyā, from Proto-Celtic *kʷesdis (piece, portion).

Noun

piece f (oblique plural pieces, nominative singular piece, nominative plural pieces)

  1. piece, bit, part

Descendants


Polish

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): [ˈpʲjɛt͡s̪ɛ]

Noun

piece

  1. nominative plural of piec
  2. accusative plural of piec
  3. vocative plural of piec