the villain of the piece

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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

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 periodicals archive ?
The villains of the piece are the babus in the federal bureaucracy that are creating 'unnecessary hurdles' in the release of funds to provinces which is no surprise as almost four years into the PML-N government it will have the federal bureaucracy stuffed with its place-men who will do the every bidding of their masters.
The real villains of the piece, as the Federation of Small Businesses point out, are the big private sector companies who treat small suppliers with contempt.
However, a short time ago we were told that obese people had overtaken them as the villains of the piece. I now read in the Examiner that a smoker was in court charged with dropping a cigarette.
The main villains of the piece are a gang of affronted bikers who could have come straight out of Hunter Thompson's Hells Angels.
Equally it's easy to paint those charged with their care as the villains of the piece, yet even the mahouts--the so-called handlers--are merely the middle-men in this particular drama.
Lana del Rey, the villains of the piece, right, and our hero Les Ratcliffe
The villains of the piece are unquestionably trafficker Lizzy Idahosa and her partner Jackson Omoruyi.
The cast throw themselves at the material with gusto, particularly the three villains of the piece.
The cast throw themselves at the material with admirable gusto, particularly the three villains of the piece. Some of the set pieces are contrived and the three screenwriters struggle to bring the murderous mayhem to a satisfying conclusion.
So how dare they make mothers out to be the villains of the piece?
But the real villains of the piece are the bankers.
The villains of the piece, he alleges, are the commissioning editors who want regional accents.
My first clue that he was off base was when he portrayed Paula Hepner as one of the villains of the piece. I worked with Judge Hepner in the mid-'80s, when I was a child welfare worker and she was a lawyer for the Administration for Children's Services (then known as Special Services for Children).
They are sometimes cast as the villains of the piece. But I don't think many football fans appreciate the significance of their involvement in the modern game.