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set piece

an arrangement of slow-burning fireworks forming a design or composition when lighted.
Theater. a piece of scenery used as part of a stage set, as a profile or three-dimensional construction built to stand independently on the stage floor:
A few set pieces simulating rocks and a fence constituted the scenery for the first act.
a work of art, literature, music, etc., having a prescribed thematic and formal structure:
the set pieces of Restoration comedy.
a scene, action, or the like, having a conventional form and functioning as part of the structure of a work of art, literature, etc.
a military operation carried out according to a rigid plan.
(in a novel, narrative poem, or the like) a passage more or less extraneous to the sequence of events, introduced to supply background, color, or the like.
Origin of set piece
1840-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for set-piece
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A set-piece stood out against the lake; it represented six French eagles on a shield.

    My Lord Duke E. W. Hornung
  • After allowing the punk to burn for a short time, light the cannon-crackers and blow up the set-piece as a grand finish.

    The Boy Craftsman A. Neely Hall
  • There is contrast enough, but he contrasts set-piece with set-piece, scene with scene, not act with act.

    Richard Wagner John F. Runciman
British Dictionary definitions for set-piece

set piece

a work of literature, music, etc, often having a conventional or prescribed theme, intended to create an impressive effect
a piece of scenery built to stand independently as part of a stage set
a display of fireworks
(sport) a rehearsed team manoeuvre, usually attempted in continuous games at a restart of play, esp when the other side has been penalized for improper play
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
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