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the villain of the piece

This page is about the idiom the villain of the piece.

Meaning: If you call someone the villain of the piece, you're saying they are the "bad" person in a situation.

For example:

  • Chelsea fans booed loudly as the referee came off the pitch. We know who they saw as the villain of the piece, don't we?

  • During the trial it became clear that the villain of the piece was not the accused man, but the police who'd arrested him. They'd planted evidence and then forced him to confess to a crime he hadn't done.

Quick Quiz:

A factory dumped waste water containing lead into a creek, and then a person in a local village who drank the water died from lead poisoning. Most people would say the villain of the piece is

a. the villager who drank the water

b. the owner of the factory

c. the doctor who didn't cure him

Idiom of the Day

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Contributor: Matt Errey