March 12, 2013
piecemeal (adverb)
\PEESS-MEEL\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : one piece at a time : gradually2 : in pieces : apart
How do you use it?
Our family has been building a tree house piecemeal for the past two summers and this summer we'll finally finish it.
Are you a word wiz?

Which of the following is an example of something you CANNOT do piecemeal?

If you chose answer D, you're right, because once you start your dive, you have to finish it! "Piecemeal" is an old word that comes from two other old words. The first word is "piece," as in "a piece of cake." The other word is actually a word part: the rarely used suffix "-meal," which means "by a specified portion or amount at a time." So something done piecemeal is done one piece at a time. "Piecemeal" is an adverb—it describes how something is done. It's also an adjective meaning "done, made, or accomplished piece by piece or in an incomplete way," as in "The tree house is a piecemeal project we'll be finishing this summer."
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