Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1200-1300
Origin: piece + -meal 'by one part at a time' (11-19 centuries) (from Old English mælum)

piecemeal

adjective
     
piece‧meal
a process that is piecemeal happens slowly and in stages that are not regular or planned properly:
The buildings have been adapted in a piecemeal fashion.
a piecemeal approach to the problem
piecemeal adverb:
The new fire regulations have been introduced piecemeal.

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