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villain of the piece

Fig. someone or something that is responsible for something bad or wrong. (Fig. on the villainous role in a drama.) I wonder who told the newspapers about the local scandal. I discovered that Jane was the villain of the piece. We couldn't think who had stolen the meat. The dog next door turned out to be the villain of the piece.
See also: of, piece, villain

the villain of the piece

someone or something that has caused a bad situation
Usage notes: This phrase was first used to describe an evil character in a play.
According to reports of the disaster, the villain of the piece is the mining company who failed to carry out proper safety checks.
See also: of, piece, villain

villain of the piece, the

The person to blame for what is bad or wrong, as in I'm afraid the caterer is the villain of the piece-the food wasn't ready for hours. The piece in this term alludes to a play in which the villain is the character whose evildoing is important to the plot. [Mid-1800s]
See also: of, villain
References in periodicals archive ?
But beware - once Epic Hero Cards are in play, then the GM may play Epic Villain Cards.
Showrunners Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis described the villains of the next OUAT chapter, hinting at more complex villains and more convoluted schemes.
Villain tragedy, as a genre, has received limited attention by modern critics notwithstanding its popularity on the Restoration stage (Hume, Development 199).
The programme wouldn't be complete if it didn't feature sharptongued Mr Cruel himself, Simon Cowell, and former Coronation Street villain Brian Capron (aka Richard Hillman) is also among those offering their what keeps us rooting for the bad guys.
Ek Villain sets out to convince you everyone has a dark side.
The 'shiqui 2' star said, "There are no heroes in the film, as this film is about villains.
As a villain he was so feared that for decades no child in India was named, Pran
In a career that lasted into the 1990s, he became most famous for his roles as a villain in movies such as "Bari Behen" (Elder Sister), "Azd" (A Free Man), "Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai" (A Country Where the Ganges River Flows)," ''Half Ticket," and "Johnny Mera Nm" (Johnny Is My Name).
Villain Pran is depicted on the "Ghatkopar" station sign.
He said: "We have been talking about heroes and villains and there was a villain out there who turned into a hero which was fantastic.
Yesterday the 32-year-old boxing icon, who lost six kilos in the jungle, said: "A dream role for me would be an evil villain.
Villains and villainy; embodiments of evil in literature, popular culture and media.
RHYS Ifans is set to spin a web of intrigue as the villain in The Amazing Spider-Man film.
Dream, Whirlwind, The Digger, and Meteor are superheroes and villains Use the clues below to find each character's real name and if they are a hero or villain.
Pakistan, June 13 -- "The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture," said the thriller master Alfred Hitchcock.