Definition of piece in US 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 upon the floor’
    ‘she tore his letters to pieces’
    • ‘She picks up a glass vase and flings it on the ground, breaking it to pieces.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Gradually it starts to be crushed in one direction and then stretched in another until it is broken to pieces.’
    • ‘Men broke into the mill and smashed them to pieces.’
    • ‘She saw a piece of it break off and a gout of flame shoot into the air.’
    • ‘Scarlet sighed as she put a small piece of pumpkin pie in her mouth.’
    • ‘The girls made the discovery after spotting a piece of red material sticking out of the ground in the park's wooded area.’
    • ‘Her bed with torn to pieces with cloth and portions of her blanket lying all over the floor.’
    • ‘In the busy commercial streets of the city you will find huge pumpkins broken to pieces and scattered on the road.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With that, my mother knife and cut a small piece of the pie.’
    • ‘In a second the whole sword was broken in pieces and Kashiro's attack continued.’
    • ‘Break the chocolate in pieces and melt with the rum in a bowl over simmering water.’
    • ‘A police spokesman said that the man was scrabbling across the slope when a piece of rock broke away.’
    • ‘Near the bottom is a chunk that originally was a piece of soundproofing material.’
    • ‘Avie looked down at her tray and started to break off a piece of her cookie.’
    • ‘Sections of main roads are completely broken to pieces.’
    • ‘The gold chain was retrieved and returned to the owner, albeit in pieces and with a portion missing following the scuffle.’
    • ‘I glued all three pieces in place with epoxy.’
    • ‘Oh well, at least her mom didn't have to worry about cutting the pizza, it was broken in pieces already.’
    bit, section, slice, chunk, segment, lump, hunk
    broken, in bits, shattered, smashed, in smithereens
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    1. 1.1 One of the items that were put together to make something and into which it naturally divides.
      ‘take a car to pieces’
      • ‘The scribble is constructed from 229 separate pieces of steel, weighs 25 tonnes and has 72 twists.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even so, you could recycle those items into scrap pieces to make parts for another robot.’
      • ‘The kit contains hundreds of miniature pieces of the popular construction toy that comprises a building system of rods and connectors.’
      • ‘In my day we only had the simplest of Lego pieces - just square blocks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sometimes pieces of the construct will be inserted as well as, or instead of, the full construct.’
      • ‘All of the pieces are cast or constructed in nonferrous metals, so that they resonate musically.’
      • ‘The laser device is used to monitor the correct alignment of mechanical pieces over a distance up to 10 m.’
      • ‘He suggested that the regulations previously construed could be said to apply to particular pieces of machinery of an unduly hazardous nature.’
      • ‘The pieces of the iron construction crashed down into the water.’
      • ‘By combining the good pieces and assembling them into a somewhat complete firearm, it can now be sold as a functioning weapon.’
      • ‘Construction pieces from every set can be combined in an infinite number of ways, which contributes to excitement and adventure.’
      • ‘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.’
      component, part, bit, section, segment, constituent, element
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    2. 1.2 An item of a particular type, especially one forming one of a set.
      ‘a piece of luggage’
      • ‘A piece of furniture, probably an old rotted sofa was covered with a white sheet.’
      • ‘The £500 prize will be used to buy a piece of reproduction medieval 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.’
      • ‘Among the museum's acquisitions, he discovered a piece of furniture that he had made 40 years before.’
      • ‘In short, there are hundreds of variations you can use when finishing a piece of furniture.’
      • ‘If you have room, consider adding a piece of outdoor furniture like a wicker chair or table.’
      • ‘When searching for a suitable piece as an investment, the condition of an antique piece is very important.’
      • ‘It's believed she was injured by a large blunt object, possibly a piece of furniture.’
      • ‘While a lot of the most valuable Shaker pieces are now antiques, the newer pieces, which are in the Shaker style, are extremely popular.’
      • ‘We treat house plants like a piece of the furniture that fills the same space in a room all year round.’
      • ‘Plain vinyls and some fabrics can reverse their direction when being put on a piece of furniture.’
      • ‘This observation may be used to help determine whether a piece of furniture has been rebuilt, using new wood.’
      • ‘I stubbed one of my toes on a piece of furniture last night.’
      • ‘Five female vocalists belted out soul classics backed by a 14 - piece band.’
      • ‘The group consists of 32 dancers, eight singers and a 13 - piece band.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She left her job to pursue that dream and had even purchased a small piece of property to start the business in.’
      • ‘A four piece jazz band was assembled in the corner, playing for the customers.’
      component, part, bit, section, segment, constituent, element
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    3. 1.3 An instance or example.
      ‘a crucial piece of evidence’
      • ‘Could this crucial piece of evidence be the cause of this poor girl's suicide?’
      • ‘There are 170 pieces of evidence against him proving he did this, two that they want retested.’
      • ‘It also showed that a crucial piece of evidence was a baseball cap dropped by the murderer as he ran from the off licence.’
      • ‘And so, basically that was one of the key pieces of evidence that investigators were trying to get a hold of here.’
      • ‘Changing the public mood would require three crucial pieces of evidence.’
      • ‘But the crucial piece of evidence would be a description of a possible attacker.’
      • ‘But under Scottish criminal law, two separate pieces of corroborating evidence are required to secure a conviction.’
      • ‘A few examples of specific pieces of advice convey a sense of the value of Machiavelli's memo.’
      • ‘But given the circumstances, it is, I think, one of the stronger pieces of evidence.’
      • ‘A number of pieces of evidence have come forward to strengthen that.’
      • ‘You make no reference to this event or these pieces of evidence in your second report, do you?’
      • ‘The police, whose examination of the crime scene is perfunctory, miss this crucial piece of evidence.’
      • ‘DNA evidence is included in that, but there were other pieces of physical evidence that were left behind.’
      • ‘We question the value of this piece of advice in the otherwise useful protocol.’
      • ‘The Government has certainly learnt a lot in the last 3 years, and those pieces of legislation are examples of what it has learnt.’
      • ‘It may be one of the few solid pieces of evidence that the prosecution has been able to put up-to-date.’
      • ‘They've identified 120 different pieces of evidence that they have concerns with.’
      • ‘There are several key pieces of evidence that we think will lead us to the killer, male, pedophile.’
      • ‘In a post-mortem examination, the smallest pieces of evidence can be the most important in explaining the cause of death.’
      • ‘Let me briefly mention two other pieces of survey evidence that are difficult to square with the setpoint model.’
      example, specimen, sample, instance, illustration, occurrence, case
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    4. 1.4 A financial share.
      ‘each employee owns a piece of the company’
      • ‘Unlike buying equity, investors do not own a piece of the company or government entity.’
      • ‘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 own shares of a company's stock, you own a piece of the company, sharing in its successes or failures along the way.’
      • ‘When you buy a share of stock, you purchase a piece of the company. You become part owner of the company.’
      • ‘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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    5. 1.5 A written, musical, or artistic creation or composition.
      ‘a hauntingly beautiful piece of music’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We're not trying to just write songs, we're trying to write musical pieces.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She composed at least eight pieces, written for a variety of voices, instruments, and genres.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As a composer, he wrote several pieces for the oboe family, which I am delighted to publish.’
      • ‘Next, I shared how Beethoven's music was much more emotional and how he often wrote pieces in a minor key.’
      • ‘Most, in fact, are relatively early pieces by composers who are now mid-career.’
      • ‘Students write about narrative pieces and give a title to their artwork.’
      • ‘Each fellow will write several pieces while in residence, which will each be subjected to detailed criticism.’
      • ‘The program consisted of a wide range of varying pieces, including songs written by each of the performers.’
      • ‘Has anyone ever heard a beautiful piece of music played on a recorder?’
      • ‘Never has such a beautiful piece of music been played on the electric guitar.’
      • ‘I might even offer the theory that it is the most perfect piece of music ever written.’
      • ‘Ideas and written pieces can be published online and vetted by readers before going to print, blogging helps the journalism process.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many of the pieces are beautifully written and personal.’
      • ‘They are both very beautiful pieces, both musically and lyrically, and her voice is just gorgeous.’
      • ‘There is currently an open invitation for composers to write pieces for the bells.’
      work of art, work
      article, item, story, report, essay, study, review, composition, paper, column
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    6. 1.6 A coin of specified value.
      ‘a 10-cent piece’
      • ‘He spins on the proverbial sixpence/one euro piece but drags his shot wide.’
      • ‘The penny piece is now worth less in real terms than either the farthing or the decimal halfpenny when they were withdrawn from circulation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Was it one customer too many with the bags of two cent pieces?’
      • ‘The parsnips are ready to harvest when the crown is the diameter of a 50 cent piece.’
      • ‘Now, $2 coins seem tiny and a handful of 20 and 50 cent pieces weigh far too much.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Flowers range in size from a five cent piece to a compact disc in diameter.’
      • ‘Rain is continuing to come down across the region, with reports of hail the size of 20 cent pieces.’
      • ‘They also snatched her purse, and took two old shilling pieces and a ladies watch.’
      • ‘They also included a selection of threepenny bits, a 1916 halfpenny and a penny piece from 1921.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Well, you have to admit it's slightly more plausible than upping the value of the penny piece to £1.’
      • ‘This guy thinks we should get rid of the dime and replace it with an 18 cent piece.’
      • ‘Would you shed a tear if the five cent piece suddenly disappeared from circulation?’
      • ‘The boy passed them the letters, and two penny pieces, then thanked them for their kindness before returning the way he had come.’
    7. 1.7 A figure or token used to make moves in a board game.
      • ‘Hathorne feebly lifted one of the jade pieces and moved it diagonally to the edge of the board.’
      • ‘The objective is simply to be the first to move all the pieces across the board and into the star point opposite.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Adam moved his chess piece and leaned back, satisfied with the way the game was progressing.’
      • ‘Glass playing pieces for board games have also been found in some numbers.’
      • ‘Then, once many of his pieces cannot move, you add yours and win the game.’
      • ‘To focus on the moves of the individual pieces without understanding the strategy misses the point.’
      • ‘In the end, he only shuffles around the pieces of a board game of his invention.’
      • ‘Game pieces move horizontally and vertically, but not diagonally, making the game more challenging as paths become obstructed.’
      • ‘Knowing this, you can try and figure out which pieces are which simply by how they're being moved.’
      • ‘Chess pieces and chessboards lend themselves to all sorts of puzzles and mathematical investigations.’
      • ‘Soon, his smile was back and he moved one of his pieces over.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She was sat on her desk, moving some puzzles' pieces, trying to figure out something, maybe an image, or a letter.’
      • ‘We love to roll dice and move pieces around a board, plot battleship strategies, play cribbage, chess, and mancala.’
      • ‘The buffalo player may only move his pieces one space directly forward as long as that space is unoccupied.’
      • ‘First, I'll show you how each pieces moves, then I'll show some basic opening strategies.’
      • ‘If a piece is in limbo, the player must get it back on the board before moving any other piece.’
      • ‘Withdrawing from the banquet and watching others move chess pieces was more compatible with his bleak mood.’
      • ‘Charlie moved her pieces with rapid decision, while Adam preferred to take his time.’
      token, counter, man, disc, chip, marker
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    8. 1.8Chess A king, queen, bishop, knight, or rook, as opposed to a pawn.
      • ‘If the single piece happens to be Queen or Rook, the weaker party becomes all too powerful.’
      • ‘Though the Queen is the strongest piece, it is vulnerable to attack by weaker enemy units.’
      • ‘Here, however, you will find more coverage of endgames with more pieces and pawns.’
      • ‘This can be done by a pawn break or by a sacrifice involving pieces or pawns.’
      • ‘Black gets three pawns for the piece, which leaves him a pawn down on balance - in theory.’
    9. 1.9North American informal A firearm.
      • ‘He equipped his cavalry with pistols, abandoning the obsolete lance, and began to concentrate standardized artillery pieces in batteries.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Artillery pieces were faked out of long black logs stuck on old truck wheels.’
      • ‘The cavalry turned in its horses for pack mules because mules could carry artillery pieces through rugged terrain.’
      • ‘We have the best tanks in the world and the best armored personnel carriers and artillery pieces.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Parrot and Dahlgren developed large, smooth-bore cannon by 1860, not rifled pieces as he implies.’
      • ‘The gunner's stopped the armoured artillery pieces, ready to fire at a word's notice.’
      • ‘More than half of the aircraft had been damaged beyond use, and most of the larger artillery pieces.’
      • ‘Among their weaponry are surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and artillery pieces.’
      • ‘They had smuggled small artillery pieces and more than 100 small mortars across the US patrolled border.’
      • ‘He now was within metres of the artillery piece that shelled him and his late friend.’
      • ‘Artillery pieces did not have sufficient tube elevation or depression angles for direct fire delivery.’
      • ‘Not every man knows his way around a shooting piece, but firearms are a manly art.’
      • ‘The battle raged for several hours but the Zulus spears were no match for the Boers' rifles and artillery pieces.’
    10. 1.10informal, offensive A woman.
      lady, girl, member of the fair sex, member of the gentle sex, female
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[with object]
  • 1piece something togetherAssemble something from individual parts.

    ‘the children took turns piecing together each other's jigsaw puzzle’
    • ‘Hams are pieced together to hide fat and make them look meaty throughout.’
    • ‘I pieced the costume together and headed very slowly toward what I hoped was an insane street party.’
    • ‘And eventually a new map of Mediterranean and Eastern European politics was pieced together.’
    • ‘Here, two irregular hemispheres were pieced together, as evidenced by a prominent groove that runs around the middle.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Diego must have pieced a lot of missing puzzle pieces together by now.’
    • ‘Each work is pieced together from a pair of photographs that don't quite join to form a seamless whole.’
    • ‘The printed panels are then pieced together to make up the mural.’
    • ‘Images are pieced together, as if collaged, without regard for perspective.’
    • ‘She lifted a puzzle, placed it on a table, and plopped on a chair to piece it together.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They are pieced together in the workshop using hundreds of small, cigarette-like incendiaries, called lances.’
    • ‘This image of Titan's landscape was pieced together from several smaller images.’
    • ‘He began to assemble his guns, slowly piecing them together with metallic clicks and scrapes.’
    • ‘It was as though major themes of many different movies were pieced together in order to create this story.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She says ‘I took this image of her in four separate images and pieced it together in Photoshop.’’
    • ‘The entire cupola construction was pieced back together over the pool.’
    put together, assemble, compose, construct, join up, fit together, join, unite, reassemble, reconstruct, put back together, mend, repair, patch up, sew, sew up
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    1. 1.1 Slowly make sense of something from separate facts and pieces of evidence.
      ‘Daniel had pieced the story together from the radio’
      • ‘‘Okay,’ David said slowly, as if trying to piece things together.’
      • ‘Scotland Yard is still trying to piece the story together.’
      • ‘We are intrigued by narrative clues, and must piece them together to see the whole picture. The revelations are desolate.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the driver was a plain clothes police officer, who quickly pieced the whole story together.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With the help of this person and others, you can piece the entire 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.’
      • ‘Although most of the early settlers left few if any records, it is still possible to piece their story together.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Who I am or why I'm piecing this story together doesn't matter.’
      • ‘Somehow I am able to extract enough sense from our dialogue 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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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  • 2piece something outarchaic Extend something.

    • ‘The Bishop simply "takes notice that the creed was pieced out."’
  • 3archaic Patch (something)

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


  • a piece of ass (or tail)

    • vulgar slang A woman regarded in sexual terms.

  • a piece of cake

    • informal Something easily achieved.

      ‘I never said that training him would be a piece of cake’
  • go to pieces

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

      • ‘‘When Beryl was diagnosed I just went to pieces,’ he said.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When it was clear that our worst fear had happened, people who had been smiling bravely cried and cried and went to pieces.’
      • ‘We were not complacent and we started off well but they had a lucky break and we went to pieces.’
      • ‘When Philip died David went to pieces, we just couldn't get through to him.’
      • ‘Some of them go to pieces, some disintegrate, but others rebel.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her parents split when she was young, and her mother just… went to pieces.’
      have a breakdown, 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
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  • in one piece

    • Unharmed or undamaged, especially after a dangerous experience.

      • ‘I made it back from Berkshire in one piece - I was sorry to leave, but it's good to be back home again.’
      • ‘Although the media leaders look as if they came back in one piece, they have actually suffered inside.’
      • ‘Her face was streaked with water and dust, and she was trembling visibly, but she seemed to be in one piece.’
      • ‘Anyhow, despite most of us taking the wrong exit off the highway, we all got there in one piece.’
      • ‘When you meddle with them, you are lucky if you come out all 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 was given a prompt refusal when I asked for a guarantee that my computer would reach Delhi in one piece.’
      • ‘Instead of accepting inevitable defeat and withdrawing with his forces in one piece, he fought and lost.’
      • ‘I made it out of Swansea in one piece and began my trek up the coast of Wales.’
      • ‘All Ray wants to do is avoid arguments and get through it in one piece.’
      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 (with something)

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

    • In slow and small stages.

      • ‘Little by little, piece by piece, it was all falling perfectly into place.’
      • ‘Despite these obstacles, unification is gradually proving possible, 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They have collected up our democratic powers piece by piece, hoarding them in the privacy of their own fiefdoms.’
      • ‘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.’
      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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  • say one's piece

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She was a very vibrant and extrovert girl and not afraid of saying her piece.’
      • ‘The family filtered through into an antechamber and the friends passed by us all one at a time, saying their piece.’
      • ‘You said your piece, and nobody else's opinion seemed to matter.’
      • ‘It was such a dramatic moment that I didn't even need to say my piece.’
      • ‘And in the end, Kate says her piece, eventually sealing the contest.’
      • ‘You've got about 30 seconds to say your piece, and then people move on unless you have something interesting to say.’
      • ‘Listening also means not interrupting the other but letting them say their piece.’
      • ‘I'm going to say my piece and you're going to listen!’
      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 rip or pull) someone/something to pieces

    • Criticize someone or something harshly.

      • ‘Then ‘take pen and paper’ and ‘pull the story to pieces and then reconstruct it himself’.’
      • ‘The German Federal Administrative Court has now pulled this argument to pieces and overturned it juridically.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘We will not pull them to pieces, as the Party will want to do.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And he often goes in circles and becomes self-contradictory too, but let's not completely pull the man 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.’’
      • ‘Anyone would think the city is the worst place in the world the way some folk pull it to pieces.’
      criticize, attack, censure, condemn, denigrate, find fault with, give a bad press to, pillory, maul, lambaste, flay, savage
      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.