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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 they 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 ?
Two of the villains - Scarecrow and Ivy Pepper, will even be played by different actors.
Actor Kenneth Branagh says he would love to play the villain in the next James Bond movie.
He said: "The fact is that Hollywood sees the English play the villains.
But beware - once Epic Hero Cards are in play, then the GM may play Epic Villain Cards.
The game, continues to lead and evolve the category with Skylanders Trap Team by letting fans seek out and defeat the most wanted villains in all of Skylands, pull them out of the game and into living rooms by capturing them in magical Traps.
Sandford made his mark as an actor of villains in the first villain tragedy on the Restoration stage in October 1662.
So, as TV's Nastiest Villains counts down those actors that are the best at being the worst, there won't be any surprise to find C5 favourites Stefan Dennis and Linda Gray here, giving their opinion on the likes of much missed Dallas bad guy JR Ewing (aka Larry Hagman), and Neighbours's love-to-hate villain Paul Robinson.
A negative shade is largely about allowing all kinds of emotions to flow," said Siddharth as he stopped by at the India Today Mediaplex on Friday to promote the Mohit Suri- directed Ek Villain .
For a Halloween eye makeover, the Disney Villains collection offers a set of Ardell Lashes for $7.
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).
In the last thirty years, popular Hindi films have changed their character and the villains, compared to those we were familiar with from the earlier period, have lost their presence.
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.
THE heroes and villains of Welsh history and culture will be dissected by academics writers, miners, sports stars and politicians at Hay starting from tomorrow.
RUMNEY Earlswood Rangers survived a second-half comeback by Roman Villains to win the Lazarou Brothers Challenge Cup 4-2.
Villains and villainy; embodiments of evil in literature, popular culture and media.