views updated

piece / pēs/ • n. a portion of an object or of material, produced by cutting, tearing, or breaking the whole: a piece of cheese the dish lay in pieces upon the floor she tore his letters to pieces. ∎  one of the items that were put together to make something and into which it naturally divides: take a car to pieces. ∎  an item of a particular type, esp. one forming one of a set: a piece of luggage. ∎  an instance or example: a crucial piece of evidence. ∎  a financial share: each employee owns a piece of the company. ∎  a written, musical, or artistic creation or composition: a hauntingly beautiful piece of music. ∎  a coin of specified value: a 10-cent piece. ∎  a figure or token used to make moves in a board game. ∎  Chess a king, queen, bishop, knight, or rook, as opposed to a pawn. ∎ inf. a firearm. ∎ inf., offens. a woman.• v. [tr.] 1. (piece something together) assemble something from individual parts: the children took turns piecing together each other's jigsaw puzzle. ∎  slowly make sense of something from separate facts and pieces of evidence: Daniel had pieced the story together from the radio.2. (piece something out) archaic extend.3. archaic patch: if it be broken it must be pieced.PHRASES: a piece of ass (or tail) vulgar slang a person, usually a woman, regarded as a sexual partner.a piece of cakesee cake.a piece of the action inf. a share in the excitement of something. ∎  a share in the profits accruing from something.go to pieces become so nervous or upset that one is unable to behave or perform normally.in one piece unharmed or undamaged, esp. after a dangerous experience. (all) of a piece (with something) (entirely) consistent (with something): his rejection of health-care reform is of a piece with his general disregard for the underprivileged.piece by piece in slow and small stages.say one's piece give one's opinion or make a prepared statement.tear (or rip) someone/something to pieces criticize someone or something harshly.