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the villain of the piece

The person or thing most responsible or at fault for a bad situation or outcome. The company's safety supervisor cut corners on expensive safety equipment, but the real villains of the piece are the executives of the company who demanded that he keep costs down by any means necessary. Though he thought he'd left the gas oven on, it turns out that a faulty gas line was the villain of the piece.
See also: of, piece, villain

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

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

the villain of the piece

COMMON If you describe someone as the villain of the piece, you mean that they are responsible for all the trouble or all the problems in a situation. The real villains of the piece are the motor manufacturers. In a country where the top speed limit is 70mph, why do they make 140mph cars? If he is indeed the villain of the piece, as the police claim he is, he should have been more carefully watched. Note: In this expression, the `piece' is a play.
See also: of, piece, villain

the villain of the piece

the main culprit.
1928 P. G. Wodehouse Money for Nothing I'm sure you're on the right track. This bird Twist is the villain of the piece.
See also: of, piece, villain

the ˈvillain of the piece

(especially humorous) a person or thing that is responsible for a particular problem, difficulty, etc: Nicolette’s the villain of the piece, since she’s the person who started all this trouble.
The villain is the principal evil character in a book, a play, etc.
See also: of, piece, 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.