verb (used with object), pieced, piec·ing.

verb (used without object), pieced, piec·ing.

Chiefly North Midland U.S. to eat small portions of food between meals; snack.


    give someone a piece of one's mind. mind(def 38).
    go to pieces,
    1. to break into fragments.
    2. to lose control of oneself; become emotionally or physically upset: When he flunked out of medical school he went to pieces.
    of a piece, of the same kind; harmonious; consistent.Also of one piece.
    piece of the action. action(def 23).
    piece of work, an extraordinary person, especially one who has extremely negative qualities: She's a nasty piece of work!
    speak one's piece, to express one's opinion; reveal one's thoughts upon a subject: I decided to speak my piece whether they liked it or not.

Origin of piece

1175–1225; Middle English pece < Old French < Gaulish *pettia; akin to Breton pez piece, Welsh, Cornish peth thing
Related formsmul·ti·piece, adjectiveun·pieced, adjective
Can be confusedpeace piece

Synonyms for piece

1. section, segment, scrap, fragment. See part. 23. augment.

Antonyms for piece

1. whole.

Usage note

The meanings “sexual intercourse” and “sexual partner” are both vulgar slang. When referring to a person, the term piece is usually used with disparaging intent and perceived as insulting.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for speak one's piece



an amount or portion forming a separate mass or structure; bita piece of wood
a small part, item, or amount forming part of a whole, esp when broken off or separateda piece of bread
a length by which a commodity is sold, esp cloth, wallpaper, etc
an instance or occurrencea piece of luck
slang a girl or woman regarded as an object of sexual attractiona nice piece
an example or specimen of a style or type, such as an article of furniturea beautiful piece of Dresden china
informal an opinion or point of viewto state one's piece
a literary, musical, or artistic composition
a coin having a value as specifiedfifty-pence piece
a small object, often individually shaped and designed, used in playing certain games, esp board gameschess pieces
  1. a firearm or cannon
  2. (in combination)fowling-piece
any chessman other than a pawn
US and Canadian a short time or distancedown the road a piece
Scot and English dialect
  1. a slice of bread or a sandwich
  2. a packed lunch taken to work, school, etc
(usually plural) Australian and NZ fragments of fleece woolSee also oddment (def. 2)
give someone a piece of one's mind informal to criticize or censure someone frankly or vehemently
go to pieces
  1. (of a person) to lose control of oneself; have a breakdown
  2. (of a building, organization, etc) to disintegrate
nasty piece of work British informal a cruel or mean person
of a piece of the same kind; alike
piece of cake informal something easily obtained or achieved

verb (tr)

(often foll by together) to fit or assemble piece by piece
(often foll by up) to patch or make up (a garment) by adding pieces
textiles to join (broken threads) during spinning
See also piece out

Word Origin for piece

C13 pece, from Old French, of Gaulish origin; compare Breton pez piece, Welsh peth portion
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 speak one's 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with speak one's piece

speak one's piece

Also, say one's piece. Say what one thinks, or what one usually says or is expected to say. For example, All right, you've spoken your piece; now let someone else have a turn. The piece in this expression alludes to a memorized poem or speech of the kind recited in a classroom. [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

also see:

  • 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
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.