- one of the figures, disks, blocks, or the like, of wood, ivory, or other material, used in playing, as on a board or table.
- (in chess) a superior man, as distinguished from a pawn: to take a rook, a bishop, and other pieces.
- a soldier's rifle, pistol, etc.
- a cannon or other unit of ordnance: field piece.
- Usually Disparaging and Offensive. a person, usually a woman, considered as a sexual partner: He finally got himself a piece of ass.
- sexual intercourse: He's always looking for piece of ass.
verb (used with object), pieced, piec·ing.
verb (used without object), pieced, piec·ing.
- piece by piece,
- piece de resistance,
- piece goods,
- piece of ass,
- piece of business
- to break into fragments.
- to lose control of oneself; become emotionally or physically upset: When he flunked out of medical school he went to pieces.
Origin of piece
- a firearm or cannon
- (in combination)fowling-piece
- a slice of bread or a sandwich
- a packed lunch taken to work, school, etc
- (of a person) to lose control of oneself; have a breakdown
- (of a building, organization, etc) to disintegrate
Word Origin for piece
c.1200, "fixed amount, measure, portion," from Old French piece "piece, bit portion; item; coin" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *pettia, probably from Gaulish *pettsi (cf. Welsh peth "thing," Breton pez "piece, a little"), perhaps from an Old Celtic base *kwezd-i-, from PIE root *kwezd- "a part, piece" (cf. Russian chast' "part"). Related: Pieces.
Sense of "portable firearm" first recorded 1580s; that of "chessman" is from 1560s. Meaning "person regarded as a sex object" is first recorded 1785 (cf. piece of ass, human beings colloquially called piece of flesh from 1590s; cf. also Latin scortum "bimbo, anyone available for a price," literally "skin"). Meaning "a portion of a distance" is from 1610s; that of "literary composition" dates from 1530s. Piece of (one's) mind is from 1570s. Piece of work "remarkable person" echoes Hamlet. Piece as "a coin" is attested in English from 1570s, hence Piece of eight, old name for the Spanish dollar (c.1600) of the value of 8 reals.
PIECE. A wench. A damned good or bad piece; a girl who is more or less active and skilful in the amorous congress. Hence the (Cambridge) toast, may we never have a PIECE (peace) that will injure the constitution. ["Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence," London, 1811]
"to mend by adding pieces," late 14c., from piece (n.). Sense of "to join, unite, put together" is from late 15c. Related: Pieced; piecing.
piece of ass
Also, piece of tail. Sexual intercourse, as in He was out for a piece of ass. [Vulgar slang; mid-1900s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with piece
- piece by piece
- piece of ass
- piece of cake
- piece of change
- piece of one's mind
- piece of the action
- piece together
- all in one piece
- conversation piece
- go to pieces
- museum piece
- of a piece
- pick apart (to pieces)
- pick up the pieces
- puff piece
- say one's piece
- think piece
- thrill to pieces
- to pieces
- villain of the piece