About This Word

dog-pile

or dogpile

[dawg-pahyl]

What does dog-pile mean?

A dog-pile is formed when a group of people jump on each other, often done as a children's game or in athletic celebrations.

To dog-pile someone is to gang up on a person in mass criticism.

Related words:

  • bandwagon
  • gang up
  • pile of teammates
  • pile-on
  • scrum

See how it's used

dog-pile

YouTube

Where does dog-pile come from?

A simple compound of dog and pile, a dog-pile described a tackling mound of American football players as early as 1921. An earlier form, found in the 1880s, was a pig pile. The expression is apparently inspired by the way dogs seem to pile on each other when feeding or playing.

In 1935, a letter to the amateur radio magazine QST mentioned dog-pile as the "youthful antics" of a game where children jump on top of each other, vying to be on top. The game often begins with one person throwing themselves on the ground and yelling "Dogpile!", prompting others to leap on and wrestle to the top.

@leonardo911

By the 1940s, dog-pile was being used as a verb to describe the action of forming a dog-pile. The term also described when a group of people metaphorically pile on one person, teaming up to pick on or criticize the individual.

In the mid-1990s, the online search engine Dogpile launched, known for aggregating the results of multiple search engines, a kind of technological dog-pile.

Who uses dog-pile?

Outside of the children's game, dog-pile is often used to describe when American football players jump on a loose ball or a tackle a player. The term also sees use when a team wins an important game. Baseball players may dog-pile a pitcher after striking out the last batter, for example, to win the World Series.

On social media, dog-pile is commonly used when many people gang up on a person for a controversial tweet (e.g., Twitter dog-piled the TV host after he tweeted out a sexist statement.) The term implies a sudden and chaotic mob, often with undertones that the mass criticism is undeserved.

Imgur

Unrelated is dog pile, a euphemism for "dog feces." Just saying.

For example

I know a lot of people are gonna dogpile me but I've gotta say it: I'm anti-histamine.

@MelodyBurst, April, 2018

The ten year olds I coach just had a dogpile on the field because they were 0-17 and tied a tournament game. It was their first "not loss"

@ClaytonTorok, June, 2017

David Purcey couldn't breathe...And he never felt more alive...Buried alive, that is. Because at that moment, Purcey was at the bottom of a mass of humanity known as the baseball dogpile.

Carter Stickland, NewsOK, June, 2004

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