See more synonyms for pile on Thesaurus.com
  1. an assemblage of things laid or lying one upon the other: a pile of papers; a pile of bricks.
  2. Informal. a large number, quantity, or amount of anything: a pile of work.
  3. a heap of wood on which a dead body, a living person, or a sacrifice is burned; pyre.
  4. a lofty or large building or group of buildings: the noble pile of Windsor Castle.
  5. Informal. a large accumulation of money: They made a pile on Wall Street.
  6. a bundle of pieces of iron ready to be welded and drawn out into bars; fagot.
  7. reactor(def 4).
  8. Electricity. voltaic pile.
verb (used with object), piled, pil·ing.
  1. to lay or dispose in a pile (often followed by up): to pile up the fallen autumn leaves.
  2. to accumulate or store (often followed by up): to pile up money; squirrels piling up nuts against the winter.
  3. to cover or load with a pile: He piled the wagon with hay.
verb (used without object), piled, pil·ing.
  1. to accumulate, as money, debts, evidence, etc. (usually followed by up).
  2. Informal. to move as a group in a more or less confused, disorderly cluster: to pile off a train.
  3. to gather, accumulate, or rise in a pile or piles (often followed by up): The snow is piling up on the roofs.

Origin of pile

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French < Latin pīla pillar, mole of stone

Synonyms for pile

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  1. a cylindrical or flat member of wood, steel, concrete, etc., often tapered or pointed at the lower end, hammered vertically into soil to form part of a foundation or retaining wall.
  2. Heraldry. an ordinary in the form of a wedge or triangle coming from one edge of the escutcheon, from the chief unless otherwise specified.
  3. Archery. the sharp head or striking end of an arrow, usually of metal and of the form of a wedge or conical nub.
verb (used with object), piled, pil·ing.
  1. to furnish, strengthen, or support with piles.
  2. to drive piles into.
  1. in pile, Heraldry. (of a number of charges) arranged in the manner of a pile.

Origin of pile

before 1000; Middle English; Old English pīl shaft < Latin pīlum javelin


  1. hair.
  2. soft, fine hair or down.
  3. wool, fur, or pelage.
  4. a fabric with a surface of upright yarns, cut or looped, as corduroy, Turkish toweling, velvet, and velveteen.
  5. such a surface.
  6. one of the strands in such a surface.

Origin of pile

1300–50; Middle English piles hair, plumage < Latin pilus hair; -i- short in L but long in Anglicized school pronunciation


noun Usually piles.
  1. a hemorrhoid.
  2. the condition of having hemorrhoids.

Origin of pile

1375–1425; late Middle English pyles (plural) < Latin pilae literally, balls. See pill1


  1. the lower of two dies for coining by hand.

Origin of pile

1350–1400; Middle English pyl reverse of a coin < Medieval Latin pīla, special use of Latin pīla pile1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pile

Contemporary Examples of pile

Historical Examples of pile

  • This afternoon I took a round of angles and bearings from a pile of stones on the hill.

  • Far away was the night nurse's desk, with its lamp, its annunciator, its pile of records.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • It would have saved somebody in New York a pile of money if you had left it.

  • One or two arose wearily and stiffly, and dragged their loads to the pile.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • There was a copy of Romeo and Juliet perched on top of a pile of books.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

British Dictionary definitions for pile


  1. a collection of objects laid on top of one another or of other material stacked vertically; heap; mound
  2. informal a large amount of money (esp in the phrase make a pile)
  3. (often plural) informal a large amounta pile of work
  4. a less common word for pyre
  5. a large building or group of buildings
  6. short for voltaic pile
  7. physics a structure of uranium and a moderator used for producing atomic energy; nuclear reactor
  8. metallurgy an arrangement of wrought-iron bars that are to be heated and worked into a single bar
  9. the point of an arrow
  1. (often foll by up) to collect or be collected into or as if into a pilesnow piled up in the drive
  2. (intr; foll by in, into, off, out, etc) to move in a group, esp in a hurried or disorganized mannerto pile off the bus
  3. pile arms to prop a number of rifles together, muzzles together and upwards, butts forming the base
  4. pile it on informal to exaggerate
See also pile up

Word Origin for pile

C15: via Old French from Latin pīla stone pier


  1. a long column of timber, concrete, or steel that is driven into the ground to provide a foundation for a vertical load (a bearing pile) or a group of such columns to resist a horizontal load from earth or water pressure (a sheet pile)
  2. heraldry an ordinary shaped like a wedge, usually displayed point-downwards
verb (tr)
  1. to drive (piles) into the ground
  2. to provide or support (a structure) with piles

Word Origin for pile

Old English pīl, from Latin pīlum


  1. textiles
    1. the yarns in a fabric that stand up or out from the weave, as in carpeting, velvet, flannel, etc
    2. one of these yarns
  2. soft fine hair, fur, wool, etc

Word Origin for pile

C15: from Anglo-Norman pyle, from Latin pilus hair
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for pile

"mass, heap," early 15c., originally "pillar, pier of a bridge," from Middle French pile and directly from Latin pila "stone barrier, pillar, pier" (see pillar). Sense development in Latin from "pier, harbor wall of stones," to "something heaped up." In English, sense of "heap of things" is attested from mid-15c. (the verb in this sense is recorded from mid-14c.). The meaning "large building" (late 14c.) is probably the same word.


"heavy pointed beam," from Old English pil "stake," also "arrow," from Latin pilum heavy javelin of the Roman foot soldier, literally "pestle" (source of Old Norse pila, Old High German pfil, German Pfeil "arrow"), of uncertain origin.


"soft, raised surface upon cloth," mid-14c., "downy plumage," from Anglo-French pyle or Middle Dutch pijl, both from Latin pilus "a hair" (source of Italian pelo, Old French pel). Phonological evidence rules out transmission of the English word via Old French cognate peil, poil. Meaning "nap upon cloth" is from 1560s.


"to heap up," mid-14c.; see pile (n.1). Related: Piled; piling. Figurative verbal expression pile on "attack vigorously, attack en masse," is from 1894, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pile in Medicine


  1. A hemorrhoid.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with pile


In addition to the idioms beginning with pile

  • pile into
  • pile up

also see:

  • make a bundle (pile)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.