set piece


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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for set piece

Contemporary Examples of set piece

Historical Examples of set piece

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for set piece

set piece


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