As in, complete the puzzle?

For example:

He was unable to piece the puzzle sooner.

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  • piece the puzzle together – KarlG Apr 26 '18 at 3:18
  • Yep, "piece the puzzle together" is idiomatic (in US English). Absent the "together", not so. – Hot Licks Apr 26 '18 at 11:53

I've never seen piece used exactly that way before. I have, however, seen a common variation:

He was unable to piece together the puzzle sooner.

I don't believe that piece can be used as a verb on its own—but it can be used as part of a phrasal verb.

A similar example is:

He was unable to tease apart the puzzle sooner.

Here, although tease is a valid verb in its own right, tease is also used as part of a phrasal verb.

  • No, I've never seen "piece" used as a verb, other than in such as "piece together". However I think it would be unusual to see it used it in a literal sense, as with a jig-saw puzzle. It is more often used metaphorically, as in "The detective manage to piece-together the suspect's motive". – WS2 Apr 26 '18 at 6:40

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