piece of work

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a piece of work

A remarkably difficult, malicious, unpleasant, or objectionable person. Boy, our new boss is a real piece of work. Remind me to stay out of her way! A: "Amy's new boyfriend is a nightmare to be around! He's so bossy and argumentative." B: "Yeah, he's a piece of work, all right. No idea what she sees in him." Please tell me Mr. Stewart won't be at the benefit tonight—that guy's a piece of work.
See also: of, piece, work
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

piece of work

A remarkable person, achievement, or product: "He's a very tough piece of work" (Ted Koppel).
See also: of, piece, work
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

piece of work, a

An obnoxious individual. Originally this expression simply referred to something that had been created, and often in an admiring fashion. Shakespeare so used it in Hamlet (2.2), “What a piece of work is a man! . . . the Paragon of animals.” In the first half of the 1900s the term began to be used sarcastically and contemptuously, as in, “Lulu finally had to take her out of the room. Piece of work she is” (David Baldacci, Hour Game, 2004). A documentary film opening in June 2010 was entitled “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work,” alluding to her often insulting comedy.
See also: of, piece
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
"He did his final piece of work on Saturday and he will have a school on Monday morning, but everything is good and we're happy with him," said Williams.
Corin, who is part of the famous acting dynasty which includes his sisters Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave and father Michael Redgrave, will be seen appearing in his final piece of work this summer.
Si Scott was commissioned to create a piece of work that celebrates the brand's heritage and acts as the lead image to promote the call for entries
"Our school caretaker Geoff Snookes also has a piece of work in the exhibition which is a tudor house he created as part of a school project.
"He's ready to do his first piece of work on Wednesday.
In response, Frank Dimant, B'nai Brith Executive Vice President, who previously described the movie as just another in a "long list of anti-Semitic works," reiterates his claims (in a letter highlighted by the Post) that "Yes, you can blame Mel Gibson for creating a piece of work that has the potential to undermine intercommunity rapprochement post Vatican II.
The Ballydoyle trainer yesterday revealed that the son of Sadler's Wells had been stiff following a routine piece of work on Friday.
'He did a sparkling piece of work as part of his final preparations for the Gold Cup, but unfortunately he pulled up lame with a very bad fracture to his off-hind cannon-bone, which sadly could not be repaired,' she said.
If only the old National Gallery itself, recognized as a failure from the day it was built, had been demolished and the whole thing conveyed to Mr Ahrends for replacement; or perhaps to the architect, whoever he was, of the Orange Street extension at the back of it, once a fine piece of work but no doubt the subject of much jeering in the architectural salons of Philadelphia.
The Savier travel bag was quite a piece of work. Never have I seen such an intricate accessory come from a skate company.
Seeing this wondrously unified piece of work, I find that hard to believe.
But these are really no more than further questions to be put to a fine piece of work.
She comes off as a major piece of work. The premise is crazy: Kraus met Hebdige with her husband, instantly fell in love with him, never even screwed him, and then doggedly pursued him, after a fashion.
One said: "He was a nasty piece of work and had enemies."