set piece


Definition of set piece

1a : a composition (as in literature, art, or music) executed in a fixed or ideal form often with studied artistry and brilliant effect
b : a scene, depiction, speech, or event that is obviously designed to have an imposing effect
2 : a realistic piece of stage scenery standing by itself
3 : a precisely planned and conducted military operation an offensive set piece that caught the enemy off guard

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Other Words from set piece

set-piece \ ˈset-​ˌpēs How to pronounce set-piece (audio) \ adjective

Examples of set piece in a Sentence

a movie with some lovely set pieces She scored with a set piece.

Recent Examples on the Web

In a brilliant set piece, Wollheim describes his mother’s elaborate daily ritual for the eradication of dust or germs. Laura Marcus, WSJ, "Five Best: Laura Marcus on Memoirs of Childhood," 15 Feb. 2019 Orlando City’s best chance of the first half came off a set piece. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Atlanta United thrashes Orlando City 4-0, extends Lions’ MLS losing skid to eight," 30 June 2018 One way or another, McQuarrie spins just enough of a narrative line on which to hang the big set pieces. Todd Mccarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Mission: Impossible — Fallout': Film Review," 12 July 2018 The deciding, streak-ending goal came off the foot of Tritons junior Jenna Cuene in the aftermath of a set piece in the 24th minute. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "WIAA soccer: An incredible state title run ends by the narrowest margin," 16 June 2018 The film's memorable set pieces are breathtakingly R-rated, not for the faint of heart, and far from easy to accomplish. Jen Yamato,, "Pushed to her limits, the first horror heroine of the Time’s Up era is born in the gutsy ‘Revenge’," 3 May 2018 But the season still leaves room for epic set pieces. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "Most Read," 12 Oct. 2018 In the end, the third film barely has a story, instead choosing to focus on various set pieces centered on the idea of what might happen to monsters (and their dog) on a cruise ship. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Hotel Transylvania’s blockbuster success, explained in one giant dog and one tiny hat," 13 July 2018 At this World Cup, 30% of the goals were scored on set pieces, according to Opta. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "The Biggest Takeaways From the 2018 World Cup," 16 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of set piece

1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Dictionary Entries near set piece


Seto ware

set pattern

set piece

set pin

set point

set pot

Statistics for set piece

Last Updated

26 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for set piece

The first known use of set piece was in 1834

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More Definitions for set piece

set piece


English Language Learners Definition of set piece

: a scene in a movie or play, an image in a painting, a piece of music, etc., that has a familiar style or pattern and that creates a particular and usually dramatic effect
chiefly British : a carefully planned and performed group of movements in sports

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with set piece

Comments on set piece

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


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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