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set piece

noun
1.
an arrangement of slow-burning fireworks forming a design or composition when lighted.
2.
Theater. a piece of scenery used as part of a stage set, as a profile or three-dimensional construction built to stand independently on the stage floor:
A few set pieces simulating rocks and a fence constituted the scenery for the first act.
3.
a work of art, literature, music, etc., having a prescribed thematic and formal structure:
the set pieces of Restoration comedy.
4.
a scene, action, or the like, having a conventional form and functioning as part of the structure of a work of art, literature, etc.
5.
a military operation carried out according to a rigid plan.
6.
(in a novel, narrative poem, or the like) a passage more or less extraneous to the sequence of events, introduced to supply background, color, or the like.
Origin of set piece
1840-1850
First recorded in 1840-50
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for set piece
Historical Examples
  • There was an impression that a set piece had been prepared, and that this was its beginning.

    Day and Night Stories Algernon Blackwood
  • She noticed at once that he was not improvising; that he was playing a set piece, the tones of which were quite unfamiliar to her.

    The Goose Man Jacob Wassermann
  • He caught up Amabel that she might see the set piece which was just being put up.

    The Portion of Labor Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  • Usually applied to a set piece in the form now commonly called a pibroch.

    Gairloch In North-West Ross-Shire John H. Dixon, F.S.A. Scot
  • The full dramatic effect of their connection could only be produced by a set piece.

    The Story of the Hymns and Tunes

    Theron Brown and Hezekiah Butterworth
  • The fireworks came to an end with a set piece called Uncle Sam.

    The Rover Boys Down East Arthur M. Winfield
  • The set piece, a ship at sea, showed one mast and the captain, and then went out.

  • “Suzanne Church,” she said, and took out her notebook, the key prop in any set piece involving a reporter.

    Makers

    Cory Doctorow
  • I say, as you did just now: it's like a set piece—a bit of slag assassins' stage craft.

    Messengers of Evil Pierre Souvestre
  • Each act runs its course uninterruptedly without anything approaching a set piece.

    The Opera R.A. Streatfeild
British Dictionary definitions for set piece

set piece

noun
1.
a work of literature, music, etc, often having a conventional or prescribed theme, intended to create an impressive effect
2.
a piece of scenery built to stand independently as part of a stage set
3.
a display of fireworks
4.
(sport) a rehearsed team manoeuvre, usually attempted in continuous games at a restart of play, esp when the other side has been penalized for improper play
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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