piecemeal

adverb
piece·meal | \ ˈpēs-ˌmēl , -ˈmēl \

Definition of piecemeal 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : one piece at a time : gradually

2 : in pieces or fragments : apart

piecemeal

adjective

Definition of piecemeal (Entry 2 of 2)

: done, made, or accomplished piece by piece or in a fragmentary way piecemeal reforms in the system

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for piecemeal

Synonyms: Adverb

gradationally, gradually, little by little, piece by piece

Synonyms: Adjective

gradational, gradual, incremental, phased, step-by-step

Antonyms: Adverb

abruptly, suddenly

Antonyms: Adjective

abrupt, sudden

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of piecemeal in a Sentence

Adverb

remodeled their house piecemeal because of budgetary constraints one well-aimed blow ripped the piñata piecemeal

Adjective

They've done piecemeal repairs in the past, but the bridge now needs major reconstruction. Some people want the changes to be made all at once, but I think we should take a more piecemeal approach.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

In any case, Apple is expected to roll out updates piecemeal over iOS 12's lifetime rather than front loading them in one big update. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "WWDC 2018: What we expect Apple to announce on June 4," 1 June 2018 To avoid feeling overwhelmed by this task, tackle it piecemeal, a room, closet, shelf, drawer at a time. Jane E. Brody, charlotteobserver, "How to age well and stay in your home," 27 June 2018 To avoid feeling overwhelmed by this task, tackle it piecemeal, a room, closet, shelf, drawer at a time. Jane E. Brody, charlotteobserver, "How to age well and stay in your home," 27 June 2018 To avoid feeling overwhelmed by this task, tackle it piecemeal, a room, closet, shelf, drawer at a time. New York Times, "How to Age Well and Stay in Your Home," 21 May 2018 To avoid feeling overwhelmed by this task, tackle it piecemeal, a room, closet, shelf, drawer at a time. Jane E. Brody, charlotteobserver, "How to age well and stay in your home," 27 June 2018 The circumstances of his eventual departure are revealed piecemeal, as the narrative cycles between past and present, examining conflicts and betrayals from many perspectives. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "Briefly Noted," 24 June 2018 To avoid feeling overwhelmed by this task, tackle it piecemeal, a room, closet, shelf, drawer at a time. Jane E. Brody, charlotteobserver, "How to age well and stay in your home," 27 June 2018 Legislation is built piecemeal but voted on as a single unit. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "What are Dems to do about the SupCo?," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But sewer systems are expensive, and regulations are up to municipalities, creating a piecemeal effort to clean up waste along watersheds. Lara Korte, WSJ, "Developers Go With the Flow as New Water Rules Kick In," 10 July 2018 Air Arguably the biggest disruptor in the budget travel game, Wow Air's piecemeal system is a lot like Norwegian's. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "International Basic Economy: How Every Major Airline Compares," 5 July 2018 And efforts by previous Republican administrations to diminish union power have been piecemeal. Lisa Rein, Anchorage Daily News, "New curbs on federal unions begin to take effect," 9 July 2018 My hope is, whatever the solution might be, that lawmakers in D.C. can work together to make that solution and not just piecemeal. Indianapolis Star, "Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Zero-tolerance policy isn't about being 'mean to children'," 14 June 2018 The reason involves the deliberately piecemeal design of the malware. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "VPNFilter malware infecting 500,000 devices is worse than we thought," 6 June 2018 But one of the reasons that Congress has become unable to address important questions is this very piecemeal approach. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "What are Dems to do about the SupCo?," 27 June 2018 Decades ago, trail skeptics said the abandoned railroad line should be sold off piecemeal to adjacent landowners. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "His namesake bridge cost $2M but carries only hikers and bikers," 1 June 2018 States have adopted it in piecemeal fashion, with mixed results. The Economist, "Mexico’s murder rate heads for a new record," 5 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'piecemeal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of piecemeal

Adverb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1593, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about piecemeal

Statistics for piecemeal

Last Updated

29 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for piecemeal

The first known use of piecemeal was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for piecemeal

piecemeal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of piecemeal

: done or made in a gradual way in a series of separate steps

piecemeal

adverb
piece·meal | \ ˈpēs-ˌmēl \

Kids Definition of piecemeal

: one piece at a time : little by little The repairs were made piecemeal.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on piecemeal

What made you want to look up piecemeal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the setting in which something occurs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!