- an assemblage of things laid or lying one upon the other: a pile of papers; a pile of bricks.
- Informal. a large number, quantity, or amount of anything: a pile of work.
- a heap of wood on which a dead body, a living person, or a sacrifice is burned; pyre.
- a lofty or large building or group of buildings: the noble pile of Windsor Castle.
- Informal. a large accumulation of money: They made a pile on Wall Street.
- a bundle of pieces of iron ready to be welded and drawn out into bars; fagot.
- reactor(def 4).
- Electricity. voltaic pile.
- to lay or dispose in a pile (often followed by up): to pile up the fallen autumn leaves.
- to accumulate or store (often followed by up): to pile up money; squirrels piling up nuts against the winter.
- to cover or load with a pile: He piled the wagon with hay.
- to accumulate, as money, debts, evidence, etc. (usually followed by up).
- Informal. to move as a group in a more or less confused, disorderly cluster: to pile off a train.
- to gather, accumulate, or rise in a pile or piles (often followed by up): The snow is piling up on the roofs.
Origin of pile1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
- to gather or be gathered in a pile; accumulate
- informal to crash or cause to crash
- informal a multiple collision of vehicles
- a collection of objects laid on top of one another or of other material stacked vertically; heap; mound
- informal a large amount of money (esp in the phrase make a pile)
- (often plural) informal a large amounta pile of work
- a less common word for pyre
- a large building or group of buildings
- short for voltaic pile
- physics a structure of uranium and a moderator used for producing atomic energy; nuclear reactor
- metallurgy an arrangement of wrought-iron bars that are to be heated and worked into a single bar
- the point of an arrow
- (often foll by up) to collect or be collected into or as if into a pilesnow piled up in the drive
- (intr; foll by in, into, off, out, etc) to move in a group, esp in a hurried or disorganized mannerto pile off the bus
- pile arms to prop a number of rifles together, muzzles together and upwards, butts forming the base
- pile it on informal to exaggerate
- 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)
- heraldry an ordinary shaped like a wedge, usually displayed point-downwards
- to drive (piles) into the ground
- to provide or support (a structure) with piles
- the yarns in a fabric that stand up or out from the weave, as in carpeting, velvet, flannel, etc
- one of these yarns
- soft fine hair, fur, wool, etc
Word Origin and History for pile up
"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.
- A hemorrhoid.
Idioms and Phrases with pile up
Accumulate, as in The leaves piled up in the yard, or He piled up a huge fortune. In this idiom pile means “form a heap or mass of something.” [Mid-1800s]
Be involved in a crash, as in When the police arrived, at least four cars had piled up. [Late 1800s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with pile
- pile into
- pile up
- make a bundle (pile)