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piecemeal

[pees-meel]
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adverb
  1. piece by piece; one piece at a time; gradually: to work piecemeal.
  2. into pieces or fragments: to tear a letter piecemeal.
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adjective
  1. done piecemeal.
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Origin of piecemeal

1250–1300; Middle English pecemele; replacing Old English styccemǣlum. See piece, -meal
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for piecemeal

gradual, fitfully, fragmentary, gradually, intermittent, interrupted, partial, partially, patchy, spotty, intermittently

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British Dictionary definitions for piecemeal

piecemeal

adverb
  1. by degrees; bit by bit; gradually
  2. in or into pieces or piece from pieceto tear something piecemeal
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adjective
  1. fragmentary or unsystematica piecemeal approach
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Word Origin for piecemeal

C13 pecemele, from piece + -mele, from Old English mælum quantity taken at one time
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

Word Origin and History for piecemeal

adv.

c.1300 (originally two words), from piece (n.) + Old English mælum "at a time," dative plural of mæl "appointed time, food served" (see meal (n.1)). The second element once was more commonly used, e.g. Old English styccemælum "bit by bit," gearmælum "year by year." One-word form from 15c.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper