C14: from pie ²; an allusion to the magpie's black-and-white colouring

à pied

adverb, adjective

(postpositive)on foot

PI

abbreviation for

Philippine Islands

private investigator

pi

^{1}

nounpluralpis

the 16th letter in the Greek alphabet (Π, π), a consonant, transliterated as p

mathsa transcendental number, fundamental to mathematics, that is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Approximate value: 3.141 592…; symbol: π

Word Origin for pi

C18 (mathematical use): representing the first letter of Greek periphereiaperiphery

late 14c., as if it were the past participle of a verb form of Middle English noun pie "magpie" (see pie (n.2)), in reference to the bird's black and white plumage. Earliest use is in reference to the pyed freres, an order of friars who wore black and white. Also in pied piper (1845, in Browning's poem based on the German legend; used allusively by 1939).

pi

n.

Greek letter, from Hebrew, literally "little mouth." As the name of the mathematical constant, from 1841 in English, used in Latin 1748 by Swiss mathematician Leonhart Euler (1707-1783), as an abbreviation of Greek periphereia "periphery." For the meaning "printer's term for mixed type," see pie (3).

pie

n.1

"pastry," mid-14c. (probably older; piehus "bakery" is attested from late 12c.), from Medieval Latin pie "meat or fish enclosed in pastry" (c.1300), perhaps related to Medieval Latin pia "pie, pastry," also possibly connected with pica "magpie" (see pie (n.2)) on notion of the bird's habit of collecting miscellaneous objects. Figurative of "something to be shared out" by 1967.

According to OED, not known outside English, except Gaelic pighe, which is from English. In the Middle Ages, a pie had many ingredients, a pastry but one. Fruit pies began to appear c.1600. Figurative sense of "something easy" is from 1889. Pie-eyed "drunk" is from 1904. Phrase pie in the sky is 1911, from Joe Hill's Wobbly parody of hymns. Pieman is not attested earlier than the nursery rhyme "Simple Simon" (c.1820). Pie chart is from 1922.

pie

n.2

"magpie," mid-13c. (late 12c. as a surname), from Old French pie (13c.), from Latin pica "magpie" (see magpie). In 16c., a wily pie was a "cunning person."

pie

n.3

also pi, printers' slang for "a mass of type jumbled together" (also pi, pye), 1650s, perhaps from pie (n.1) on notion of a "medley," or pie (n.2); cf. pica (n.1). As a verb from 1870. Related: Pied.

An irrational number that has a numerical value of 3.14159265358979… and is represented by the symbol π. It expresses the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle and appears in many mathematical expressions.

The irrational number obtained by dividing the length of the diameter of a circle into its circumference. Pi is approximately 3.1416. The sign for pi is π.