Definition of heap in English:

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Pronunciation: /hiːp/


1An untidy collection of objects placed haphazardly on top of each other: a disordered heap of a lot 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.
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.
2 (a heap of/heaps of) informal A large amount or number of: we have heaps of room
More example sentences
  • I could list off a whole heap of things that are sitting in my room that I couldn't stand to see get broken, wrecked, destroyed or misplaced.
  • He gives you some great gig in which you make a whole heap of money, and you're just on top of the world and on every magazine cover, but your personal life is miserable.
  • As it was, I bought a few things for myself, and a whole heap of Christmas presents (two of which got broken on the way back, sadly).
a lot, lots, a large amount, a fair amount, much, a good/great deal, a deal, a great quantity, quantities, an abundance, a wealth, a profusion, plenty, masses;
many, a great many, a large number, a considerable number, a huge number, numerous, scores, hundreds, thousands, millions, billions
informal a load, loads, loadsa, a pile, piles, oodles, stacks, scads, reams, wads, pots, oceans, a mountain, mountains, miles, tons, zillions, gazillions, bazillions, more … than one can shake a stick at
British informal a shedload, lashings
North American informal gobs
Australian/New Zealand informal a swag
vulgar slang a shitload
North American vulgar slang an assload
3 informal An untidy or dilapidated place or vehicle: they climbed back in the heap and headed home


(heaps) British informal
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!


[with object]
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.
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 (as adjective heaped or North American heaping) (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.
  • When the butter has melted, whisk in a heaped tablespoon of flour and keep whisking (over a low heat) until the sauce thickens.
1.3 [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.
2 (heap something on/upon) Direct a great deal of praise, abuse, criticism, etc. at (someone or something): she heaped praise on the public for its generosity as charity donations continued to pour in these are the people who make a living from heaping abuse and ridicule on those of whom they do not approve
More example sentences
  • Feel free to pour your scorn or heap your praise upon us.
  • Now that I have that out of the way, let me start heaping some praise on this film.
  • Even at my worst, I never believed in heaping extra abuses on any feeling being that didn't do something that warranted it.
shower on, lavish on, load on;
bestow on, confer on, give, grant, vouchsafe, assign to, award to, favour with, furnish with
2.1 (heap someone/thing with) Give someone or something (a great deal of praise, abuse, criticism, etc.): the film has been heaped with praise by critics and audiences alike
More example sentences
  • Such a patently absurd claim deserves to be heaped with ridicule.
  • Other bands heaped with such lofty comparisons might not be able to deliver the goods.
  • After a life heaped with honors, including election to the Academie Francaise, Paul Valery died in Paris on July 20, 1945.



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.


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

Words that rhyme with heap

asleep, beep, bleep, cheap, cheep, creep, deep, Jeep, keep, leap, neap, neep, peep, reap, seep, sheep, skin-deep, sleep, steep, Streep, sweep, veep, weep

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: heap

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