Commonly Confused Words: Peace vs. Piece

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What does each word mean?

Peace is the absence of stress or freedom from dispute.

Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word.

Here is peace used in some example sentences:

  • Mum wanted was to drink her tea in peace.
  • A short period of peace was followed by further battle.
  • The world leaders tried to negotiate peace.

A piece a segment or part of an object. The word might also be used to describe an artistic creation, a coin of a specific value, a firearm, or a counter in a boardgame.

Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word.

  • Here is piece used in some example sentences:
  • Would you like a piece of pie?
  • The homework was a piece of cake
  • The band played her favourite piece of music.
  • Can I trade my £1 coin for two 50p pieces?
  • The queen is a valuable chess piece.


Where does each word come from?

Peace has been used in English since the twelfth century. It comes from the Anglo-French ‘pais’ meaning ‘peace, reconciliation, silence, permission’, which in turn comes from the Latin 'pax' meaning ‘agreement’ or ‘treaty of peace, absence of war’. ‘Pax’ comes from the PIE root ‘pag’ meaning ‘to fasten’ – think of binding two countries together with a treaty or agreement. ‘Pag’ is also the root of the word ‘pact’.

Piece has been used in Engish since around 1200 and comes – via Old French – from the Vulger Latin ‘pettia’. The word has been used to describe chessmen since the 1560s and to describe firearms since the 1580s.


Are there any tricks to help remember the difference between peace and piece?

  • Piece has the word pie in it. Think of a piece of pie to help you remember its spelling.
  • Use the following acrosticto help you remember how to spell peace: Peace Ends All Conflict with Enemies.

What words do you constantly mix up? Let us know and we’ll cover them in our Commonly Confused Words series.

Sources: The Online Etymology Dictionary

16 Jan 2020
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