Definition of heap in English:

heap

Line breaks: heap
Pronunciation: /hiːp
 
/

noun

  • 1An untidy collection of objects placed haphazardly on top of each other: a disordered heap of boxes her clothes lay in a heap on the floor
    More example sentences
    • Everything from framed pictures to cricket memorabilia were laid out in heaps on the floor, as they were photographed as part of an official record.
    • Wet, bloody feathers lay in heaps on the floor. ‘They go in dressed, and come out undressed,’ jokes the factory manager.
    • Or, if you are planning on a Christmas theme, your Christmas wedding favors may be in the form of crackers, piled in heaps around the tables for guests to collect.
    Synonyms
    pile, stack, mass, mound, mountain, quantity, load, lot, bundle, jumble; collection, accumulation, gathering; assemblage, store, stock, supply, stockpile, hoard, aggregation, agglomeration, accrual, conglomeration; Scottish , Irish , & Northern English rickle; Scottish bing
    rare amassment
  • 1.1An amount of a particular loose substance: a heap of gravel
    More example sentences
    • If the film flops, the banks will only have a heap of cans and nothing else.
    • There's an unfinished attempt at a deck, no more than a heap of firewood, in one of the back corners, and a small dumping area in the other where the previous owners used to tip grass cuttings.
  • 3 informal An untidy or dilapidated place or vehicle: they climbed back in the heap and headed home

adverb

(heaps) British informal Back to top  
  • A great deal: ‘How do you like Maggie?’ ‘I like you heaps better!’
    More example sentences
    • I have to say, though, that it really is a lot of fun, and heaps better than painting pebbles.
    • I still want to be able to earn some cash from writing at some point - the recent writing I've done has been heaps better than any of my earlier work - but it's going to be a slow road ahead unless I get lucky.
    • Thanks heaps for you wonderful and energetic review!

verb

[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Put (objects or a loose substance) in a heap: she heaped logs on the fire heaped up in one corner was a pile of junk
    More example sentences
    • Piles of wood were heaped up at crossroads and street corners.
    • When building homes, dusky-footed wood rats heap sticks into protective piles that may reach several feet in height and width.
    • The amount of garbage the city generates is staggering - piles and piles of rubbish are heaped on the sidewalks by the end of the day.
    Synonyms
    pile up, pile, stack up, stack, make a pile of, make a stack of, make a mound of; assemble, accumulate, collect, amass; store, store up, stock up, stockpile, hoard
  • 1.1 (heap something with) Load something copiously with: he heaped his plate with rice
    More example sentences
    • The U.S. soldiers lined up at the truck, heaping their plates with food.
    • I guess that's why I haven't actively tried to talk with him about my troubles - I don't want to heap his plate with my issues when he has his own to deal with.
    • Most beginners heap their plate with two or three of their favourite items, and soon find that they have no appetite for several of the exotic dishes.
  • 1.2 (heap something on/upon) Bestow praise, abuse, or criticism liberally on: they once heaped praise on her
    More example sentences
    • They have heaped praises on the teacher-turned Minister who spent a large part of his life teaching chemistry and retired as the Head of the Department at the college.
    • But they heaped much praise upon each other and all pledged to work together on Nunavut's problems.
    • Feel free to pour your scorn or heap your praise upon us.
    Synonyms
  • 1.3 (as adjective heaped) chiefly British (Of a spoon or other container) with the contents piled above the brim or edge: a heaped teaspoon of sugar
    More example sentences
    • Spread the beef slices out on a worktop and spoon a heaped tablespoon of filling into the centre of each.
    • Once most of the crystals have dissolved, add another heaped spoon and continue to agitate, checking periodically on your progress.
    • Drain the fish but keep the milk, add a good thick slice of butter to it, then when the butter has melted, whisk in a heaped tablespoon of flour and keep whisking (over a low heat) until the sauce thickens.
  • 1.4 [no object] Form a heap: clouds heaped higher in the west
    More example sentences
    • I thought it was bad earlier this week, but it all heaped up on me today.

Phrases

at the top (or bottom) of the heap

(Of a person) at the highest (or lowest) point of a society or organization: she had come up the hard way from the very bottom of the heap those with grand hereditary titles remain at the top of the heap
More example sentences
  • Well I'm sure many of you will have an opinion about whether rationality should remain at the top of the heap.
  • Standing up and breathing was sufficient to put you at the top of the heap.
  • The nutrients it drags up are the basis of a colossal food chain with the big pelagic predators (marlin, shark, tuna and swordfish) at the top of the heap.

be struck all of a heap

informal Be extremely disconcerted: those who are struck all of a heap when faced with a bill
More example sentences
  • The King was struck all of a heap by the sight, and knew not what had befallen him.
  • He was struck all of a heap, and never seemed to know what ailed him.
  • He had been wounded three times and used to say every morning: ‘They'd be struck all of a heap, those Boches, if they could see me now!’

heap coals of fire on someone's head

British Go out of one’s way to cause someone remorse: she did not want her sister to heap coals of fire on her head when she came home
[with biblical allusion to Rom. 12:20]
More example sentences
  • For in doing this you will heap coals of fire on his head.
  • The relatives of the other three heap coals of fire on my head by continuing to seek medical advice from me.
  • The fact that we have been forgiven by God ought to heap coals of fire on our head, as the Scripture says.

in a heap

With the body completely limp: he landed in a heap at the bottom of the stairs
More example sentences
  • In a freak accident, Barry went down in a heap outside his own penalty area and took no further part in the match.
  • Down through a basement I fell and landed in a heap in a dank tunnel.
  • They grab hold of each other and finally collapse in a heap, out of exhaustion.

Origin

Old English hēap (noun), hēapian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hoop and German Haufen.

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