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[pees-meel] /ˈpisˌmil/

piece by piece; one piece at a time; gradually:
to work piecemeal.
into pieces or fragments:
to tear a letter piecemeal.
done piecemeal.
by degrees; bit by bit; gradually
in or into pieces or piece from piece: to tear something piecemeal
fragmentary or unsystematic: a piecemeal approach

c.1300 (originally two words), from piece (n.) + Old English mælum “at a time,” dative plural of mæl “appointed time, food served” (see meal (n.1)). The second element once was more commonly used, e.g. Old English styccemælum “bit by bit,” gearmælum “year by year.” One-word form from 15c.


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