1350–1400; Middle English; pie2 (with reference to the black and white plumage of the magpie) + -ed3

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2 [pahy]
noun, plural pies.
printing types mixed together indiscriminately.
any confused mixture; jumble.
verb (used with object), pied, piing.
to reduce (printing types) to a state of confusion.
to jumble.
Also, pie.

1650–60; origin uncertain


3 [pahy]
noun, verb (used with object), pied, pieing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
pi1 (paɪ)
n , pl pis
1.  the 16th letter in the Greek alphabet (Π, π), a consonant, transliterated as p
2.  maths a transcendental number, fundamental to mathematics, that is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Approximate value: 3.141 592…; symbol: π
[C18 (mathematical use): representing the first letter of Greek periphereiaperiphery]

pi or pie2 (paɪ)
n , pl pies
1.  a jumbled pile of printer's type
2.  a jumbled mixture
vb , pies, pies, piing, pied, pies, pieing, pied
3.  to spill and mix (set type) indiscriminately
4.  to mix up
[C17: of uncertain origin]
pie or pie2
[C17: of uncertain origin]

pi3 (paɪ)
slang (Brit) pious short for pious

abbreviation for
1.  Philippine Islands
2.  private investigator

pie1 (paɪ)
1.  a baked food consisting of a sweet or savoury filling in a pastry-lined dish, often covered with a pastry crust
2.  have a finger in the pie
 a.  to have an interest in or take part in some activity
 b.  to meddle or interfere
3.  pie in the sky illusory hope or promise of some future good; false optimism
[C14: of obscure origin]

pie2 (paɪ)
an archaic or dialect name for magpie
[C13: via Old French from Latin pīca magpie; related to Latin pīcus woodpecker]

pie3 (paɪ)
n, —vb
printing a variant spelling of pi

pie4 (paɪ)
a very small former Indian coin worth one third of a pice
[C19: from Hindi pā'ī, from Sanskrit pādikā a fourth]

pie or pye5 (paɪ)
history a book for finding the Church service for any particular day
[C15: from Medieval Latin pica almanac; see pica1]
pye or pye5
[C15: from Medieval Latin pica almanac; see pica1]

pie6 (paɪ)
informal (NZ) be pie on to be keen on
[from Māori pai ana]

pied (paɪd)
having markings of two or more colours
[C14: from pie²; an allusion to the magpie's black-and-white colouring]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1841, used in L. 1748 by Swiss mathematician Leonhart Euler (1707-83), from Gk. letter pi (from Heb., lit. "little mouth") as an abbreviation of Gk. periphereia "periphery." For the meaning "printer's term for mixed type," see pie (3).

"pastry," c.1300, from M.L. pie "meat or fish enclosed in pastry," perhaps related to M.L. pia "pie, pastry," also possibly connected with pica "magpie" (see pie (2)) on notion of the bird's habit of collecting miscellaneous objects. Not known outside Eng., except Gaelic pighe,
which is from Eng. In the Middle Ages, a pie had many ingredients, a pastry but one. Fruit pies began to appear c.1600. Fig. sense of "something easy" is from 1889. Pie-eyed "drunk" is from 1904. Phrase pie in the sky is 1911, from Joe Hill's Wobbly parody of hymns. Pieman is not attested earlier than the nursery rhyme "Simple Simon" (c.1820).

"magpie," mid-13c., from O.Fr. pie (13c.), from L. pica "magpie," related to picus "woodpecker," Umbrian peica "the magpie," Skt. pikah "Indian cuckoo," O.N. spætr, Ger. Specht "woodpecker" (see magpie).

printers' slang for "a mass of type jumbled together" (also pi, pye), 1659, perhaps from pie (1) on notion of a "medley," or pie (2) (see pica).

1382, as if it were the pp. of a verb form of M.E. noun pie "magpie" (see pie (2)), in ref. to the bird's black and white plumage. Earliest use is in reference to the pyed freres, an order of friars who wore black and white. Also in pied piper (1845, in Browning's poem based
on the Ger. legend; used allusively from 1942).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

pi (pī)
n. pl. pis

Symbol π The 16th letter of the greek alphabet.

pI (pē'ī')
The pH value for the isoelectric point of a given substance in solution.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
pi   (pī)  Pronunciation Key 
An irrational number that has a numerical value of 3.14159265358979... and is represented by the symbol π. It expresses the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle and appears in many mathematical expressions.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
pi [(peye)]

The irrational number obtained by dividing the length of the diameter of a circle into its circumference. Pi is approximately 3.1416. The sign for pi is π.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
inorganic phosphate
  1. performance indicator

  2. politically incorrect

  3. present illness

  4. primary infertility

  5. principal investigator

  6. private investigator

The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Acacia pied barbet feeding on the pollen and nectar in this flower.
Pied-billed grebes are small, stocky unostentatious brownish-colored grebes.
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