villain of the piece

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

the villain of the piece

BRITISH
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 classic literature ?
I don't care if Hugo does come at me with a pistol," returned Amy, who was not gifted with dramatic power, but was chosen because she was small enough to be borne out shrieking by the villain of the piece.
David Cameron was obviously the villain of the piece and Miliband was just a bit rubbish - he was just saying the same old things.
Year 12 student Finlay Turner-Berry took on the role of Fagin, Jessica Weale in Year 10 played Nancy and Ben Edwards from Year 13 played the villain of the piece, Bill Sykes.
Saoirse Ronan gives a superb performance as young Susie and Stanley Tucci is as brilliant as ever as the villain of the piece.
That ref, Andre Marriner, will be embarrassed, defender Steven Reid will feel vindicated - but the real villain of the piece will shrug his shoulders and fall over easily in the penalty area again.
Sally Rogers who's played Helen Dolan, the other villain of the piece, has been great too.
vvCape Tribulation proved the villain of the piece at Cheltenham yesterday as Denis O'Regan forced the nine-yearold past the gallant 2010 Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander in the Argento Chase.
WREXHAM 2 TAMWORTH 2 REFEREE Anthony Backhouse was roundly condemned as the villain of the piece at the Racecourse on Saturday where Wrexham were held to a 2-2 draw by Tamworth and missed an opportunity to go second in the table ahead of promotion rivals Newport County.
So to those on the sick, the unemployed, the single mothers whose children will be a lot poor this year, don't look to Westminster, the villain of the piece is a lot closer to home.
Although, you could argue the real villain of the piece was Arthur Scargill, who is still costing the NUM and whose cowardice in not putting the strike to a vote resulted in the Nottinghamshire miners working on.
The villain of the piece, Abanazar, will be brought to life by former Coronation Street actor Chris Quinten while local dancer Rebecca Nicholson will step into the shoes of the Princess.
Ponting, one of Australia's most successful captains, has been made out to be the villain of the piece, with several former cricketers questioning his captaincy following the 0-2 Test series defeat to India.
But both would be happy to be cast as the villain of the piece by winning their respective semi-finals at Flushing Meadows today.
Judge Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen will be the villain of the piece this year admitting to a lack of knowledge about the practice of opera but in depth know how of how it should sound, and will demand a very high standard.
Ex-Emmerdale actor James Baxter was a likeable Peter Pan with a nice line in sending-up Boycie - Challis's Only Fools character - while the latter seemed to be having a great time as the stomping, sneering villain of the piece.