Definition of piece in English:



  • 1A portion of an object or of material, produced by cutting, tearing, or breaking the whole.

    ‘a piece of cheese’
    ‘the dish lay in pieces on the floor’
    • ‘Oh well, at least her mom didn't have to worry about cutting the pizza, it was broken in pieces already.’
    • ‘Scarlet sighed as she put a small piece of pumpkin pie in her mouth.’
    • ‘Men broke into the mill and smashed them to pieces.’
    • ‘Avie looked down at her tray and started to break off a piece of her cookie.’
    • ‘With that, my mother knife and cut a small piece of the pie.’
    • ‘The girls made the discovery after spotting a piece of red material sticking out of the ground in the park's wooded area.’
    • ‘In a second the whole sword was broken in pieces and Kashiro's attack continued.’
    • ‘Gradually it starts to be crushed in one direction and then stretched in another until it is broken to pieces.’
    • ‘Sections of main roads are completely broken to pieces.’
    • ‘I glued all three pieces in place with epoxy.’
    • ‘The gold chain was retrieved and returned to the owner, albeit in pieces and with a portion missing following the scuffle.’
    • ‘Her bed with torn to pieces with cloth and portions of her blanket lying all over the floor.’
    • ‘A police spokesman said that the man was scrabbling across the slope when a piece of rock broke away.’
    • ‘She saw a piece of it break off and a gout of flame shoot into the air.’
    • ‘Break the chocolate in pieces and melt with the rum in a bowl over simmering water.’
    • ‘In the middle of the confusion, the thieves try to get away with the mirror, only to break it to pieces in their fight to have the first glance.’
    • ‘Near the bottom is a chunk that originally was a piece of soundproofing material.’
    • ‘She picks up a glass vase and flings it on the ground, breaking it to pieces.’
    • ‘In the busy commercial streets of the city you will find huge pumpkins broken to pieces and scattered on the road.’
    • ‘Then she took out a lump of sandalwood from the wall cupboard, washed it, broke it in pieces, dissolved it in water and cleaned her face and arms with the paste.’
    broken, in bits, shattered, smashed, in smithereens
    bit, section, slice, chunk, segment, lump, hunk
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    1. 1.1An item used in constructing something.
      ‘take a car to pieces’
      • ‘For all customers who want to coat boat pieces and other non-car pieces, or car pieces which don't appear on our price list, we have tried to give you enough information below to estimate what your piece(s) would cost.’
      • ‘Even so, you could recycle those items into scrap pieces to make parts for another robot.’
      • ‘By combining the good pieces and assembling them into a somewhat complete firearm, it can now be sold as a functioning weapon.’
      • ‘If you wonder if you can replace the clutch yourself, you should first consider how much knowledge you have regarding how to do it and the car pieces involved.’
      • ‘The laser device is used to monitor the correct alignment of mechanical pieces over a distance up to 10 m.’
      • ‘Sometimes pieces of the construct will be inserted as well as, or instead of, the full construct.’
      • ‘Construction pieces from every set can be combined in an infinite number of ways, which contributes to excitement and adventure.’
      • ‘The scribble is constructed from 229 separate pieces of steel, weighs 25 tonnes and has 72 twists.’
      • ‘All of the pieces are cast or constructed in nonferrous metals, so that they resonate musically.’
      • ‘The pieces of the iron construction crashed down into the water.’
      • ‘In my day we only had the simplest of Lego pieces - just square blocks.’
      • ‘The kit contains hundreds of miniature pieces of the popular construction toy that comprises a building system of rods and connectors.’
      • ‘After that, you start sanding other people's work and start to help put pieces of furniture together.’
      • ‘Silversmith Biggs was responsible for the basic design and construction of the piece.’
      • ‘He suggested that the regulations previously construed could be said to apply to particular pieces of machinery of an unduly hazardous nature.’
      component, part, bit, section, segment, constituent, element
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    2. 1.2An item forming part of a set.
      ‘a piece of luggage’
      • ‘When searching for a suitable piece as an investment, the condition of an antique piece is very important.’
      • ‘We treat house plants like a piece of the furniture that fills the same space in a room all year round.’
      • ‘The £500 prize will be used to buy a piece of reproduction medieval furniture.’
      • ‘It's believed she was injured by a large blunt object, possibly a piece of furniture.’
      • ‘A piece of furniture, probably an old rotted sofa was covered with a white sheet.’
      • ‘A four piece jazz band was assembled in the corner, playing for the customers.’
      • ‘I have got some soundtracks that have huge orchestras, 80 - piece orchestras.’
      • ‘Occasionally a client will have a specific project or a piece of furniture that he wants to make.’
      • ‘Among the museum's acquisitions, he discovered a piece of furniture that he had made 40 years before.’
      • ‘The group consists of 32 dancers, eight singers and a 13 - piece band.’
      • ‘This observation may be used to help determine whether a piece of furniture has been rebuilt, using new wood.’
      • ‘Five female vocalists belted out soul classics backed by a 14 - piece band.’
      • ‘I stubbed one of my toes on a piece of furniture last night.’
      • ‘In short, there are hundreds of variations you can use when finishing a piece of furniture.’
      • ‘Plain vinyls and some fabrics can reverse their direction when being put on a piece of furniture.’
      • ‘He would then get up, grab at a piece of furniture, and throw it about the room.’
      • ‘Those who are a dab hand with the paintbrush can update a piece of wooden furniture, such as a chair or side table, with jet-black gloss.’
      • ‘If you have room, consider adding a piece of outdoor furniture like a wicker chair or table.’
      • ‘While a lot of the most valuable Shaker pieces are now antiques, the newer pieces, which are in the Shaker style, are extremely popular.’
      • ‘She left her job to pursue that dream and had even purchased a small piece of property to start the business in.’
      component, part, bit, section, segment, constituent, element
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    3. 1.3A financial share.
      ‘each employee owns a piece of the company’
      • ‘The idea behind the executive share option is that incentivised executives will work harder if they can see themselves owning a piece of the company they work for.’
      • ‘When you buy a share of stock, you purchase a piece of the company. You become part owner of the company.’
      • ‘Unlike buying equity, investors do not own a piece of the company or government entity.’
      • ‘When you own shares of a company's stock, you own a piece of the company, sharing in its successes or failures along the way.’
      • ‘You can now give the gift of share ownership to a fan of The Walt Disney Company so they can own a piece of the company.’
      share, slice, portion, quota, part, bit, percentage, amount, quantity, ration, fraction, division, subdivision
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  • 2A written, musical, or artistic creation.

    ‘a haunting piece of music’
    • ‘Students write about narrative pieces and give a title to their artwork.’
    • ‘There is currently an open invitation for composers to write pieces for the bells.’
    • ‘Each fellow will write several pieces while in residence, which will each be subjected to detailed criticism.’
    • ‘Soon afterwards he was writing his own pieces, and at seven he became only the second child under the age of 10 ever to be accepted by the Vienna Conservatoire.’
    • ‘He wrote and arranged many pieces of liturgical music, and set up several computer programs.’
    • ‘The piece conveys the sense of an urgent, fully focused formal sensibility at work.’
    • ‘Many of the pieces are beautifully written and personal.’
    • ‘Ideas and written pieces can be published online and vetted by readers before going to print, blogging helps the journalism process.’
    • ‘Has anyone ever heard a beautiful piece of music played on a recorder?’
    • ‘They are both very beautiful pieces, both musically and lyrically, and her voice is just gorgeous.’
    • ‘Next, I shared how Beethoven's music was much more emotional and how he often wrote pieces in a minor key.’
    • ‘As a composer, he wrote several pieces for the oboe family, which I am delighted to publish.’
    • ‘We're not trying to just write songs, we're trying to write musical pieces.’
    • ‘I might even offer the theory that it is the most perfect piece of music ever written.’
    • ‘His close friendships with women produced some of the best-known pieces of music ever written by any composer; but they did not secure him a wife.’
    • ‘A child prodigy, he wrote his first piece of music at the age of five and completed his first symphony at the age of eight.’
    • ‘She composed at least eight pieces, written for a variety of voices, instruments, and genres.’
    • ‘Most, in fact, are relatively early pieces by composers who are now mid-career.’
    • ‘The program consisted of a wide range of varying pieces, including songs written by each of the performers.’
    • ‘Never has such a beautiful piece of music been played on the electric guitar.’
    article, item, story, report, essay, study, review, composition, paper, column
    work of art, work
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  • 3An instance or example.

    ‘a crucial piece of evidence’
    • ‘We question the value of this piece of advice in the otherwise useful protocol.’
    • ‘DNA evidence is included in that, but there were other pieces of physical evidence that were left behind.’
    • ‘A number of pieces of evidence have come forward to strengthen that.’
    • ‘And so, basically that was one of the key pieces of evidence that investigators were trying to get a hold of here.’
    • ‘It also showed that a crucial piece of evidence was a baseball cap dropped by the murderer as he ran from the off licence.’
    • ‘But given the circumstances, it is, I think, one of the stronger pieces of evidence.’
    • ‘There are several key pieces of evidence that we think will lead us to the killer, male, pedophile.’
    • ‘You make no reference to this event or these pieces of evidence in your second report, do you?’
    • ‘Changing the public mood would require three crucial pieces of evidence.’
    • ‘It may be one of the few solid pieces of evidence that the prosecution has been able to put up-to-date.’
    • ‘A few examples of specific pieces of advice convey a sense of the value of Machiavelli's memo.’
    • ‘There are 170 pieces of evidence against him proving he did this, two that they want retested.’
    • ‘In a post-mortem examination, the smallest pieces of evidence can be the most important in explaining the cause of death.’
    • ‘But the crucial piece of evidence would be a description of a possible attacker.’
    • ‘The police, whose examination of the crime scene is perfunctory, miss this crucial piece of evidence.’
    • ‘Could this crucial piece of evidence be the cause of this poor girl's suicide?’
    • ‘The Government has certainly learnt a lot in the last 3 years, and those pieces of legislation are examples of what it has learnt.’
    • ‘Let me briefly mention two other pieces of survey evidence that are difficult to square with the setpoint model.’
    • ‘But under Scottish criminal law, two separate pieces of corroborating evidence are required to secure a conviction.’
    • ‘They've identified 120 different pieces of evidence that they have concerns with.’
    example, specimen, sample, instance, illustration, occurrence, case
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  • 4[with modifier] A coin of specified value.

    ‘a 10p piece’
    • ‘Rain is continuing to come down across the region, with reports of hail the size of 20 cent pieces.’
    • ‘Would you shed a tear if the five cent piece suddenly disappeared from circulation?’
    • ‘They were presented with a pouch containing silver one, two, three and four penny pieces from golden trays held by the Yeomen of the Guard.’
    • ‘They also snatched her purse, and took two old shilling pieces and a ladies watch.’
    • ‘He spins on the proverbial sixpence/one euro piece but drags his shot wide.’
    • ‘Flowers range in size from a five cent piece to a compact disc in diameter.’
    • ‘Is there any risk that the two euro coin will be mistaken for the Thai 10 baht piece, whose face value is eight times less?’
    • ‘I put $20 in five and ten cent pieces into an old jam jar, then filled it with water and placed it in the freezer.’
    • ‘This guy thinks we should get rid of the dime and replace it with an 18 cent piece.’
    • ‘Was it one customer too many with the bags of two cent pieces?’
    • ‘Well, you have to admit it's slightly more plausible than upping the value of the penny piece to £1.’
    • ‘They also included a selection of threepenny bits, a 1916 halfpenny and a penny piece from 1921.’
    • ‘Now, $2 coins seem tiny and a handful of 20 and 50 cent pieces weigh far too much.’
    • ‘The boy passed them the letters, and two penny pieces, then thanked them for their kindness before returning the way he had come.’
    • ‘The penny piece is now worth less in real terms than either the farthing or the decimal halfpenny when they were withdrawn from circulation.’
    • ‘The parsnips are ready to harvest when the crown is the diameter of a 50 cent piece.’
  • 5A figure or token used to make moves in a board game.

    ‘a chess piece’
    • ‘If a piece is in limbo, the player must get it back on the board before moving any other piece.’
    • ‘The objective is simply to be the first to move all the pieces across the board and into the star point opposite.’
    • ‘The buffalo player may only move his pieces one space directly forward as long as that space is unoccupied.’
    • ‘Withdrawing from the banquet and watching others move chess pieces was more compatible with his bleak mood.’
    • ‘Game pieces move horizontally and vertically, but not diagonally, making the game more challenging as paths become obstructed.’
    • ‘Adam moved his chess piece and leaned back, satisfied with the way the game was progressing.’
    • ‘Then, once many of his pieces cannot move, you add yours and win the game.’
    • ‘Hathorne feebly lifted one of the jade pieces and moved it diagonally to the edge of the board.’
    • ‘Glass playing pieces for board games have also been found in some numbers.’
    • ‘We love to roll dice and move pieces around a board, plot battleship strategies, play cribbage, chess, and mancala.’
    • ‘It was an abstract race game called Tempo in which pieces were moved not by the roll of the dice, but by the playing of cards.’
    • ‘First, I'll show you how each pieces moves, then I'll show some basic opening strategies.’
    • ‘She was sat on her desk, moving some puzzles' pieces, trying to figure out something, maybe an image, or a letter.’
    • ‘Soon, his smile was back and he moved one of his pieces over.’
    • ‘She stretched her legs out in front of her in a relaxed position, staring hard at the pieces on the long chess board before her.’
    • ‘To focus on the moves of the individual pieces without understanding the strategy misses the point.’
    • ‘Knowing this, you can try and figure out which pieces are which simply by how they're being moved.’
    • ‘In the end, he only shuffles around the pieces of a board game of his invention.’
    • ‘Chess pieces and chessboards lend themselves to all sorts of puzzles and mathematical investigations.’
    • ‘Charlie moved her pieces with rapid decision, while Adam preferred to take his time.’
    token, counter, man, disc, chip, marker
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    1. 5.1Chess A king, queen, bishop, knight, or rook, as opposed to a pawn.
      ‘indicate which piece or pawn is taken’
      • ‘Though the Queen is the strongest piece, it is vulnerable to attack by weaker enemy units.’
      • ‘If the single piece happens to be Queen or Rook, the weaker party becomes all too powerful.’
      • ‘This can be done by a pawn break or by a sacrifice involving pieces or pawns.’
      • ‘Here, however, you will find more coverage of endgames with more pieces and pawns.’
      • ‘Black gets three pawns for the piece, which leaves him a pawn down on balance - in theory.’
  • 6North American informal A firearm.

    • ‘The gunner's stopped the armoured artillery pieces, ready to fire at a word's notice.’
    • ‘They had smuggled small artillery pieces and more than 100 small mortars across the US patrolled border.’
    • ‘Not every man knows his way around a shooting piece, but firearms are a manly art.’
    • ‘He now was within metres of the artillery piece that shelled him and his late friend.’
    • ‘We have the best tanks in the world and the best armored personnel carriers and artillery pieces.’
    • ‘Artillery pieces did not have sufficient tube elevation or depression angles for direct fire delivery.’
    • ‘Artillery pieces were faked out of long black logs stuck on old truck wheels.’
    • ‘More than half of the aircraft had been damaged beyond use, and most of the larger artillery pieces.’
    • ‘The cavalry turned in its horses for pack mules because mules could carry artillery pieces through rugged terrain.’
    • ‘Parrot and Dahlgren developed large, smooth-bore cannon by 1860, not rifled pieces as he implies.’
    • ‘It will be surrounded by a two metre-deep trench and have only one entrance, which will be protected by artillery pieces and machine gun posts.’
    • ‘Soldiers gather along the length of the trenches, artillery pieces prepare for the opening barrage.’
    • ‘The wreck has been heavily excavated by archaeologists, but worn iron guns, cannonballs and small pieces are still to be found.’
    • ‘He equipped his cavalry with pistols, abandoning the obsolete lance, and began to concentrate standardized artillery pieces in batteries.’
    • ‘Among their weaponry are surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and artillery pieces.’
    • ‘The battle raged for several hours but the Zulus spears were no match for the Boers' rifles and artillery pieces.’
  • 7informal, offensive A woman.

    lady, girl, member of the fair sex, member of the gentle sex, female
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  • 8Scottish A sandwich or other item of food taken as a snack.


  • 1Assemble something from parts or pieces.

    ‘the dinosaur was pieced together from 119 bones’
    • ‘In order to cover all the sky with a single beam, astronomers must piece it together from millions of separate observations, each of a single point.’
    • ‘And eventually a new map of Mediterranean and Eastern European politics was pieced together.’
    • ‘I pieced the costume together and headed very slowly toward what I hoped was an insane street party.’
    • ‘She says ‘I took this image of her in four separate images and pieced it together in Photoshop.’’
    • ‘He began to assemble his guns, slowly piecing them together with metallic clicks and scrapes.’
    • ‘Each work is pieced together from a pair of photographs that don't quite join to form a seamless whole.’
    • ‘Certainly a lot of footage had to be shot for all the possible pathways the story can take, and the footage is pieced together according to your answers.’
    • ‘The entire cupola construction was pieced back together over the pool.’
    • ‘She lifted a puzzle, placed it on a table, and plopped on a chair to piece it together.’
    • ‘Nine different crews then delivered these parts into space where the giant jigsaw puzzle was pieced together.’
    • ‘The teacher got her some gluesticks and tape, and Zhoey began piecing her project together slowly.’
    • ‘Here, two irregular hemispheres were pieced together, as evidenced by a prominent groove that runs around the middle.’
    • ‘This image of Titan's landscape was pieced together from several smaller images.’
    • ‘It was as though major themes of many different movies were pieced together in order to create this story.’
    • ‘Images are pieced together, as if collaged, without regard for perspective.’
    • ‘They are pieced together in the workshop using hundreds of small, cigarette-like incendiaries, called lances.’
    • ‘Hams are pieced together to hide fat and make them look meaty throughout.’
    • ‘Diego must have pieced a lot of missing puzzle pieces together by now.’
    • ‘The printed panels are then pieced together to make up the mural.’
    put together, assemble, compose, construct, join up, fit together, join, unite, reassemble, reconstruct, put back together, mend, repair, patch up
    build up a impression of, build up a picture of
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    1. 1.1Slowly make sense of something from separate pieces of evidence.
      ‘Daniel had pieced the story together from the radio’
      • ‘Remembering the heart attack I pieced the evidence together.’
      • ‘When the evidence is pieced together, it seems that evolution prepared what society later moulded: a brain to believe.’
      • ‘Later, when she was old enough to understand Katherine's disease, she was able to piece the puzzle together, and it only made her more furious at her father.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the driver was a plain clothes police officer, who quickly pieced the whole story together.’
      • ‘Anyone who has been awake and alert should have pieced the evidence together sufficiently to arrive at an understanding consistent with the one summarized in the Post story.’
      • ‘To tell the story correctly, a person would need to sift through thousands and thousands of pages of archival material from all over the country and then piece bits together into a coherent story.’
      • ‘Both sides are equipped for this war, and the jury will have to piece this evidence together to see whether or not this case, they can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.’
      • ‘With the help of this person and others, you can piece the entire story together.’
      • ‘Simply the fact that it took three editions before it was exposed indicates that few readers cared enough about the evidence to piece it together.’
      • ‘Who I am or why I'm piecing this story together doesn't matter.’
      • ‘Although most of the early settlers left few if any records, it is still possible to piece their story together.’
      • ‘‘Okay,’ David said slowly, as if trying to piece things together.’
      • ‘We are intrigued by narrative clues, and must piece them together to see the whole picture. The revelations are desolate.’
      • ‘Scotland Yard is still trying to piece the story together.’
      • ‘Often he just says a string of single words, hoping the listener can piece them together to make sense of what he is trying to say.’
      • ‘Later that day, Margaret finally pieced the whole story together.’
      • ‘Now, usually when someone tells you something important, you have to piece the words together slowly, and really understand them to decipher the meaning.’
      • ‘Somehow I am able to extract enough sense from our dialogue to piece the story together.’
      • ‘Small snippets of that day at the stables returned to her in her dreams, and she was slowly piecing it together.’
      • ‘He's just got to judge the evidence as he pieces it together.’
      understand, comprehend, work out, fathom out, make sense of, grasp, catch, follow, perceive, make out, penetrate, divine, search out, ferret out, puzzle out, take in, assimilate, absorb, get to the bottom of
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  • 2archaic Extend something.

    ‘his coming and assisting them was like a cordial given to a dying man, which doth piece out his life’
    • ‘The Bishop simply "takes notice that the creed was pieced out."’
  • 3archaic Patch (something)

    ‘if it be broken it must be pieced’
    • ‘Many of the designs feature piecing fabric, colour blocking, quilting, and many are reversible as well.’
    • ‘Occasionally, a stenciled bedcover was pieced with traditional quilt blocks but was not quilted.’
    • ‘No matter how she pieced them, they contorted into something unacceptable.’


  • a piece of ass (or tail)

    • vulgar slang A woman regarded as sexually attractive.

  • a piece of cake

    • Something easily achieved.

      ‘I never said that training him would be a piece of cake’
      • ‘I have to keep in mind that I lost 50 pounds my senior year in college, so this is a piece of cake.’
      • ‘So as long as you possess inner peace, are touched by genius and have the bravery of a lion, then closing the deal is a piece of cake.’
      • ‘It wasn't a piece of cake, but it honestly wasn't hard and I was fully operational by the second day.’
      • ‘When it comes to managing a full time job and performing, Stefan reckons it's a piece of cake.’
      • ‘The third-graders found their words a piece of cake, flying through the final round.’
      • ‘Worth striving for, certainly, but no piece of cake for anyone to achieve.’
      • ‘One easy transfer and a stop about a block from my hotel made it a piece of cake.’
      • ‘If you have a horse to carry them for you, it's a piece of cake.’
      • ‘OK, so arriving there by road is a pain but once you've entered the terminal building it's a piece of cake.’
      • ‘Getting a table at his restaurant would be a piece of cake, rather than a three-month wait.’
      • ‘Now in the middle of it, it's not exactly a piece of cake, and you don't always feel good, believe me.’
      • ‘And both are a piece of cake - like playing Snap fast, a game at which, fortunately, I excel.’
      • ‘The straps slid off easily, and from there the rest was a piece of cake.’
      • ‘Okay, so bits of the tale are a bit scary but compared to what most kids see these days it's a piece of cake (no pun intended).’
      • ‘It's hardly comforting to learn this same public servant now views the venture as a piece of cake.’
      • ‘One day a friend had said he'd gotten a little bit rich gutting salmon in Alaska - and it was a piece of cake.’
      • ‘For a man who has climbed to the summit of Mount Everest, taking part in Sligo's Walking Week must have been a piece of cake.’
      • ‘If he had encountered a challenge like this in his early years, Magellan would surely have found Cape Horn a piece of cake.’
      • ‘An easy trouble-free week where you can't put a foot wrong and whatever you undertake turns out to be a piece of cake.’
      • ‘I'm a computer tech and I can tell you that hacking into the vote tabulations would be a piece of cake.’
      • ‘We were scared and you were doing it like it was just a piece of cake.’
      • ‘It's a piece of cake for his students to outplay those older teachers of the school who also come to learn Go at his class, Liu said.’
      • ‘The media makes it seem like a piece of cake to just up and marry and all of a sudden you're a citizen, which is also not true.’
      easy task, easy job, child's play, nothing, five-finger exercise, gift, walkover, sinecure
      breeze, doddle, walk in the park, picnic, money for old rope, money for jam, cinch, sitter, kids' stuff, cushy job, cushy number, doss, cakewalk, pushover
      duck soup, snap
      bludge, snack
      a piece of old tackie
      a piece of piss
      View synonyms
  • a piece (or slice) of the action

    • informal A share in an exciting or profitable enterprise.

      ‘they'd underwrite the cost of the drilling in return for a piece of the action’
      • ‘So all you wannabe camera operators after a slice of the action, here's the checklist from a true expert.’
      • ‘And anyone who is anyone has to be there if they want a slice of the action.’
      • ‘However, visitors hoping to catch a slice of the action will be disappointed.’
      • ‘Everyone is desperate to get a slice of the action.’
      • ‘Publishers, software makers, entertainment companies, and universities themselves are lining up to take a slice of the action.’
      • ‘They will now aspire to having a slice of the action.’
      • ‘Some experienced miners even travelled from the United States and Australia to catch a slice of the action.’
      • ‘An Irish delegation will meet with the English in 10 days but lay their cards firmly on the table and demand a slice of the action.’
      • ‘Indeed, it wasn't long before his fellow competitors were clammering for a slice of the action.’
      • ‘It's no wonder that the players want a slice of the action.’
      share, portion, bit, cut, quota, percentage
      commission, dividend
      whack, slice of the cake, rake-off
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  • come (or fall) to pieces

    • Break into parts or become damaged.

      ‘it splintered loudly and fell to pieces under his weight’
      • ‘My old paperback copy of City of Night is falling to pieces.’
      • ‘Its buildings are cracked and falling to pieces around its inhabitants.’
      • ‘For the tomb of Solomon, which the Jews regarded as an object of veneration, fell to pieces of itself and collapsed.’
      • ‘Most of these you see from the highway are falling to pieces.’
      • ‘The old pink paper one has finally fallen to pieces.’
      • ‘There it was year after year, ragged and old, and falling to pieces.’
      • ‘The box basically just falls to pieces. "’
      • ‘For about £ 250, you get a suit that won't fall to pieces on the way home.’
      • ‘Most of what little furniture there is has been in the hospital ward for at least 30 years and is falling to pieces.’
      • ‘My only pair of smart shoes had fallen to pieces a few days earlier.’
      break up, break, break apart, break open, shatter, splinter, fracture, burst apart, explode, blow apart, implode
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  • go to pieces

    • Become so upset or nervous that one is unable to function normally.

      ‘my mother went to pieces after his death’
      • ‘Her parents split when she was young, and her mother just… went to pieces.’
      • ‘When Philip died David went to pieces, we just couldn't get through to him.’
      • ‘When it was clear that our worst fear had happened, people who had been smiling bravely cried and cried and went to pieces.’
      • ‘Some of them go to pieces, some disintegrate, but others rebel.’
      • ‘‘When Beryl was diagnosed I just went to pieces,’ he said.’
      • ‘I went to pieces when I should have shouted and screamed instead’
      • ‘Christine admits that it was she who went to pieces, relying on antidepressants and too much alcohol.’
      • ‘We were not complacent and we started off well but they had a lucky break and we went to pieces.’
      • ‘Some have coped better than others, and some have always gone to pieces.’
      • ‘But it all went to pieces when all the computers turned out to have viruses and support services didn't show up until 10 minutes before the class ended.’
      have a, have a mental breakdown, have a nervous breakdown, break down, go out of one's mind, crack, snap, lose control, lose one's head, fall apart
      crack up, come apart at the seams, fall apart at the seams, disintegrate, freak, freak out, get in a stew
      go into a spin, go into a flat spin
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  • in one piece

    • Unharmed or undamaged, especially after a dangerous experience.

      ‘don't worry, I'll get you there in one piece’
      • ‘When you meddle with them, you are lucky if you come out all in one piece.’
      • ‘Her face was streaked with water and dust, and she was trembling visibly, but she seemed to be in one piece.’
      • ‘He is expected to perform at this team, just as he did at Williams, but he is also expected to score points by bringing the car home in one piece.’
      • ‘I made it out of Swansea in one piece and began my trek up the coast of Wales.’
      • ‘Anyhow, despite most of us taking the wrong exit off the highway, we all got there in one piece.’
      • ‘Instead of accepting inevitable defeat and withdrawing with his forces in one piece, he fought and lost.’
      • ‘I was given a prompt refusal when I asked for a guarantee that my computer would reach Delhi in one piece.’
      • ‘I made it back from Berkshire in one piece - I was sorry to leave, but it's good to be back home again.’
      • ‘All Ray wants to do is avoid arguments and get through it in one piece.’
      • ‘Although the media leaders look as if they came back in one piece, they have actually suffered inside.’
      unbroken, entire, whole, intact, undamaged, unharmed, unmarked, untouched, unspoilt
      unhurt, uninjured, unscathed, safe, safe and sound
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  • (all) of a piece

    • (entirely) consistent.

      ‘the art and science of any culture are of a piece’
      • ‘This, again, would be of a piece with Hindu theology which says that every thing is Prakasha, or light.’
      • ‘The world has changed along with the rise of advertising, and it all seems of a piece.’
      • ‘The hyperbolic scheme seems to be of a piece with the bold strokes of the ancient epic.’
      • ‘But it's also clear that this kind of ethnography and nature worship is thoroughly of a piece with her earlier work.’
      • ‘The covers are of a piece with the whole issue, setting a low-key and intriguing tone.’
      • ‘His earlier intervention over Foundation Hospitals was of a piece.’
      • ‘It was of a piece with what he did earlier in the debate, where he came out against labels.’
      • ‘It is a beautiful object, all of a piece and remarkably consistent.’
      • ‘This might just be seen as a kind of inappropriate response disorder, of a piece with government policy in general.’
      • ‘Actually, it's of a piece with how agriculture and the rural poor have been treated this past decade or so.’
      similar, alike, indistinguishable, undistinguishable, identical, uniform, of the same kind, twin, interchangeable, undifferentiated, homogeneous, cut from the same cloth, consistent, unvarying
      corresponding, correspondent, commensurate, equivalent, matching, like, parallel, analogous, comparable, cognate, equal
      like peas in a pod, like two peas in a pod, much of a muchness
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  • piece by piece

    • In gradual stages.

      ‘I intend to approach this problem piece by piece’
      • ‘So piece by piece, we're putting this puzzle together and we're getting closer to solving the problem.’
      • ‘The administration's legal framework needs to be examined piece by piece.’
      • ‘This report is another indication that depression is gradually being figured out piece by piece.’
      • ‘This is a scandal that has been unfolding piece by piece and you can bet it is not anywhere close to being over yet.’
      • ‘Little by little, piece by piece, it was all falling perfectly into place.’
      • ‘I look forward to your reply - we can address these all at once, or piece by piece.’
      • ‘I had him stand in front of me and slowly we worked it out, piece by piece.’
      • ‘Over the years, piece by piece, the few activists in the cycling press built a case against many of the sport's top competitors.’
      • ‘They have collected up our democratic powers piece by piece, hoarding them in the privacy of their own fiefdoms.’
      • ‘Despite these obstacles, unification is gradually proving possible, piece by piece.’
      a little at a time, piece by piece, bit by bit, gradually, slowly, in stages, in steps, step by step, little by little, by degrees, by fits and starts, in fits and starts, in bits
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  • piece of water

    • A small lake or pond.

      • ‘It's a wonderful piece of water, I never tire of it.’
      • ‘It seemed that, while accepting the presence of the mature ducks on the same piece of water, they regarded the additional ducklings as a threat to their territory and possible food supplies which called for eliminating tactics.’
      • ‘Segrino is one of the small pieces of water at the southern end of Lake Como.’
      • ‘We ended up sitting close next to each other beneath that willow tree, watching the sunset over that little piece of water.’
      • ‘The mountains surrounding this picturesque piece of water stretched high into the sky, the tips decorated with freshly fallen snow.’
      • ‘The Corryvreckan is a treacherous piece of water but there are times when it resembles a flat-calm swimming pool.’
      • ‘For now, I can report that just about every piece of water that you are likely to drive over or past has a good chance of containing trout, and pretty good fish at that.’
      • ‘Except for the large number of trailered boats heading skyward, there seemed to be no particular reason to expect a usable piece of water 6,700 feet above sea level - yet there it was.’
      • ‘They live in the third largest piece of water in the country, and have only a few dedicated anglers pursuing them.’
      • ‘You can only fish the little piece of water just in front of you, some ten yards square really.’
  • piece of work

    • informal A person of a specified kind, especially an unpleasant one.

      informal ‘he's a nasty piece of work’
      • ‘She may well tell us, for instance, that Mr Brown is a nasty piece of work, and that Mrs Green will one day be declared a saint.’
      • ‘A homeless man was doubly unlucky when he was hit by a female drunk driver because she turned out to be a really nasty piece of work.’
      • ‘Time will tell if I'm right or not but I reckon he's a very nasty piece of work.’
      • ‘She's not a nasty piece of work like so many presenters are, but she's very high - maintenance.’
      • ‘He was a nasty piece of work and generally was avoided by the other prisoners who knew his reputation.’
      • ‘It was bad enough that families had to fend off the floodwater, but then they had to fend off those nasty pieces of work who sought to take advantage.’
      • ‘Add to this a splash of alcoholism, a dash of paranoia and a dose of misogyny, and you have a pretty nasty piece of work.’
      • ‘We were always told at school that Richard I was the nice one and John was the nasty piece of work.’
      • ‘They are nasty pieces of work, no doubt, but they are by no stretch of the imagination a threat to civilised society.’
      • ‘From this basic anti-social culture, some develop into real nasty pieces of work.’
  • say one's piece

    • Give one's opinion or make a prepared statement.

      ‘I've said my piece, it's up to you’
      • ‘You've got about 30 seconds to say your piece, and then people move on unless you have something interesting to say.’
      • ‘I'm going to say my piece and you're going to listen!’
      • ‘You said your piece, and nobody else's opinion seemed to matter.’
      • ‘Although I had been at the conference for two days, I was about to be granted just two minutes to say my piece.’
      • ‘Even if you say your piece kindly and rationally, do not expect your friend to take it well.’
      • ‘It was such a dramatic moment that I didn't even need to say my piece.’
      • ‘She was a very vibrant and extrovert girl and not afraid of saying her piece.’
      • ‘And in the end, Kate says her piece, eventually sealing the contest.’
      • ‘The family filtered through into an antechamber and the friends passed by us all one at a time, saying their piece.’
      • ‘Listening also means not interrupting the other but letting them say their piece.’
      communicate one's opinions, communicate one's thoughts, communicate one's views, put thoughts into words, speak one's mind, say one's piece, say what's on one's mind
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  • tear (or pull) someone/thing to pieces

    • Criticize someone or something harshly.

      ‘theatre critics would tear the production to pieces’
      • ‘The Reds' semi-final exit at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen has led to yet another onslaught by those critics who relish pulling United to pieces.’
      • ‘Last week he told friends: ‘Over the 24 hours after hearing from Budd about the e-mails, I knew that my reputation would be pulled to pieces.’’
      • ‘If the left is supposed to be about internationalism and solidarity then the arguments of the anti-war left can be pulled to pieces in five minutes.’
      • ‘And he often goes in circles and becomes self-contradictory too, but let's not completely pull the man to pieces.’
      • ‘We will not pull them to pieces, as the Party will want to do.’
      • ‘Anyone would think the city is the worst place in the world the way some folk pull it to pieces.’
      • ‘Where there is no deceit or intention to defraud, a court will be less ready to pull a transaction to pieces, but in cases of conscious fraud it will exercise its jurisdiction to the full.’
      • ‘The German Federal Administrative Court has now pulled this argument to pieces and overturned it juridically.’
      • ‘Then ‘take pen and paper’ and ‘pull the story to pieces and then reconstruct it himself’.’
      • ‘I was totally ready to pull his presentation to pieces and save these people from a terrible fate (although I got the impression that they were ready to save themselves).’
      criticize, attack, censure, condemn, denigrate, find fault with, give a bad press to, pillory, maul, lambaste, flay, savage
      knock, slam, pan, bash, take apart, crucify, hammer, lay into, roast, skewer
      slate, rubbish, slag off, monster
      pummel, cut up
      criticize, attack, censure, condemn, denigrate, find fault with, pillory, maul, lambaste, flay, savage
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Middle English: from Old French piece (compare with medieval Latin pecia, petium), of obscure ultimate origin.