piece

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See also: pièce

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Middle English pece, from piece, pece, peece, peice, from Late Latin petia, pettia, possibly from Gaulish *pettyā‎, from Proto-Celtic *kʷezdis (piece, portion). Compare Welsh peth, Breton pez (thing), Irish cuid.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

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.
  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”, 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, usually when worn by a man.
    The announcer is wearing a new piece.
  8. (Scotland, Ireland, UK 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, p. 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") 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.

Synonyms[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

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.

Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

See also[edit]

Verb[edit]

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[edit]


Middle French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Gaulish *petsi.

Noun[edit]

piece f (plural pieces)

  1. piece, bit, part

Old French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Gaulish *petsi, possibly through a Vulgar Latin intermediate *pettia.

Noun[edit]

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

  1. piece, bit, part

Polish[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): [ˈpʲjɛt͡s̪ɛ]

Noun[edit]

piece

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