She's a piece of work.

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Gloria Huang:
I ran across this sentence in a movie and according to what I've found, it's an adaption from Shakespears' Hamlet. The original sentence is "What a piece of work is man!"

But I still can't grasp what the meaning is. Could anyone tell me? Thank you in advance.
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Mike987:
The original Hamlet context is:

"What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form, in moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!"

In other words, Man is a wonderful creation.

However, "She's a piece of work" has the opposite meaning. More usually one would say "She's a nasty piece of work". In other words, she exhibits unpleasant personality traits, such as selfishness, cruelty, etc..
[nq:1]I ran across this sentence in a movie and according to what I've found, it's an adaption from Shakespears' Hamlet. ... work is man!" But I still can't grasp what the meaning is. Could anyone tell me? Thank you in advance.[/nq]
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John Ings:
[nq:1]I ran across this sentence in a movie and according to what I've found, it's an adaption from Shakespears' Hamlet. ... work is man!" But I still can't grasp what the meaning is. Could anyone tell me? Thank you in advance.[/nq]
It means that the person referred to is remarkable in some way. The phrase can be used in admiration or in deprecation, but it is usually applied to persons who have a forceful personality. e.g.

"Starting from almost nothing, that remarkable Chinese woman ended up owning half the real-estate in Honolulu. What a piece of work she was!"

"I just can't get along with that ***! She's a nasty piece of work!"
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Gloria Huang:
[nq:2]I ran across this sentence in a movie and according ... meaning is. Could anyone tell me? Thank you in advance.[/nq]
[nq:1]It means that the person referred to is remarkable in some way. The phrase can be used in admiration or ... a piece of work she was!" "I just can't get along with that ***! She's a nasty piece of work!"[/nq]
Got it. Thank you, Mike and John.

And when the other person replied to that by saying, "So noted," did she mean "Yes, I noticed that." or "I heard what you said."?

Thanks again!
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John Ings:
[nq:1]And when the other person replied to that by saying, "So noted," did she mean "Yes, I noticed that." or "I heard what you said."?[/nq]
"I heard what you said and will remember it."
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Mike987:
[nq:1]"I heard what you said and will remember it."[/nq]
... but don't necessarily agree.
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