- an arrangement of slow-burning fireworks forming a design or composition when lighted.
- 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.
- a work of art, literature, music, etc., having a prescribed thematic and formal structure: the set pieces of Restoration comedy.
- a scene, action, or the like, having a conventional form and functioning as part of the structure of a work of art, literature, etc.
- a military operation carried out according to a rigid plan.
- (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
First recorded in 1840–50
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for set piece
These big, set-piece events shove the royalty in their face.British Republicans Hail New Royal Baby As Good Recruiting Tool
September 8, 2014
Those were the set-piece questions of what used to be called classical education.Persian Fire and Rubicon (Full)
September 23, 2012
For eight years he harried the English and their allies while denying them the set-piece battle they craved.Embracing 'Braveheart,' GOP Pols Seem Infatuated With Martyrdom
December 21, 2011
After allowing the punk to burn for a short time, light the cannon-crackers and blow up the set-piece as a grand finish.The Boy Craftsman
A. Neely Hall
A set-piece stood out against the lake; it represented six French eagles on a shield.My Lord Duke
E. W. Hornung
There is contrast enough, but he contrasts set-piece with set-piece, scene with scene, not act with act.Richard Wagner
John F. Runciman
- a work of literature, music, etc, often having a conventional or prescribed theme, intended to create an impressive effect
- a piece of scenery built to stand independently as part of a stage set
- a display of fireworks
- 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