set piece

plural set pieces

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
4 sports : a carefully planned sequence of movements performed by the members of a team (as in soccer) A set piece can be used on either a direct or indirect type of [free] kick, providing one of the few times during the game that a team can execute something that it may have spent hours practicing.— Doug Roberson

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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

What follows is a series of darkly comic set pieces punctuated by regular jump scares, a handful of nonplussed goats, and the occasional highly creative homicide. Leah Greenblatt,, "Ready or Not offers splattery black comedy with real socio-political bite," 20 Aug. 2019 Each act is custom-rigged to stand on its own; no set piece is given room to breathe beyond a few minutes. Steven Zeitchik,, "‘America’s Got Talent,’ the television juggernaut no one knows how to stop," 10 Aug. 2019 Though the Rapids lead the league in goals off corner kicks, his lack of scoring off set pieces isn’t shocking given how much teams focus on him. Jake Shapiro, The Denver Post, "Rapids’ Kei Kamara offers plenty of bang for the goal-scoring buck," 7 Aug. 2019 Off another set piece, van der Gragt made it 2-0, with Giuliani getting a hand to the effort but unable to keep it out. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Sweden stuns Germany at Women's World Cup as Dutch reach maiden semifinal," 29 June 2019 Spain scored courtesy of the US defense being sloppy in possession near its own goal, while France halved the deficit from a set piece. Aimee Lewis, CNN, "England vs. USA: English women chase World Cup history against 'the team everyone wants to beat'," 1 July 2019 Louisville City FC equalized 10 minutes after the start of the second half on a Paolo DelPiccolo set piece. Tyler Kraft, Indianapolis Star, "Indy Eleven draw Louisville, remain unbeaten at home," 30 June 2019 France has not seemed in danger of losing, so far, thanks to solid defending and set piece production. Frank Dell’apa,, "Coach Jill Ellis has capitalized on US roster depth," 28 June 2019 Whether that’s through a penalty kick or a set piece or open-play transition. Grant Wahl,, "Adaptable USWNT Relies on Stars Old and New to Win 4th Women's World Cup Title," 7 July 2019

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

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


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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