- 1A heap of things laid or lying one on top of another: he placed the books in a neat pile tottering piles of dirty dishesMore example sentences
- Dayra stood, menacing as always, and stared down at the crumpled mass lying on a pile of decaying straw in front of her, chained to the wall.
- 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.
- One afternoon when I came on shift, I found it lying in a heap behind a pile of boxes.
- 1.1 • informal A large amount of something: he’s making piles of moneyMore example sentences
great deal, lot, great/large amount, large quantity, abundance, superabundance, cornucopia, plethora, wealth, profusion, mountain; quantities, reams, plentyBritish • informal shedloadNorth American • informal slewAustralian/New Zealand • informal swag• vulgar slang shitloadNorth American • vulgar slang assload
- Experts are at hand to advise you on how to put aside a little every month and invest it prudently, so that the little pile slowly grows into an appreciable amount within a few years.
- Audiences around the world still get to their feet every night and the money pile continues to grow.
- Are these questions to ask ourselves as the years pass, as the hostility grows, as the piles of dead mount on both sides?
- 1.2 • archaic A funeral pyre.More example sentences
- The following morning Priam bade his people go gather wood for the burial, and after nine days the body of Hector was laid on the pile and burned.
- Then the corpse is brought and laid in the midst; the pile is kindled and the roaring flame rises, mingled with weeping, till all is consumed.
- 2A large imposing building or group of buildings: a Victorian Gothic pileMore example sentences
- Walter Scott, in one of his rare moments of happy economy, summed up the city skyline as mixed and massive piles - half church of God, half castle against the Scot.
- The house itself is a pile built when Pitlochry was the chicest spa venue in early Victorian Britain.
- The McKittrick Hotel is a gothic pile, quite similar in appearance to the Bates home.
- 4 (also atomic pile) • dated A nuclear reactor.More example sentences
- In the basement of the unused football stadium of the University of Chicago, scientists Enrico Fermi and Arthur Compton built an atomic pile and in December 1942 produced the first chain reaction in uranium.
- Another display that caught my attention was the diorama showing Enrique Fermi and George While controlling the reaction at the world's first atomic pile CP - 1.
- Bent on defeating Nazi Germany, Wigner worked on plutonium production and made superb engineering designs for the air-cooled atomic pile built by the DuPont Corporation.
verbBack to top
- 1 [with object and adverbial] Place (things) one on top of the other: she piled all the groceries on the counterMore example sentences
- He became notorious for piling his plate high and refilling it frequently, even wrapping a few pieces of chicken in a hanky and stuffing them in his pocket to eat later.
- My mother was piling her plate high with a greasy, fatty, fry-up of a mixed grill and tucking in with gusto.
- The checkout girls are friendly as she piles her groceries onto the conveyor belt.
- 1.1 (be piled with) Be stacked or loaded with: his in tray was piled high with papersMore example sentences
- She wore a cloak about her shoulders that was piled with what looked like swan feathers.
- Tables were piled with textbooks for homeschoolers, tomes denouncing evolution, booklets waxing nostalgic for the antebellum South.
- The food bank shelves were piled with enough items to last eight weeks, said Jennifer Hayward, the food bank's treasurer.
- 1.2 (pile up/pile something up) Increase or cause to increase in quantity: [no object]: the work is piling upMore example sentences
increase, grow, rise, mount, escalate, soar, spiral, leap up, shoot up, rocket, climb, accumulate, accrue, build up, multiply, intensify, swell• literary waxamass, accumulate, collect, gather (in), pull in, assemble, stockpile, heap up, store up, garner, lay by/in, put by; bank, deposit, husband, save (up), squirrel away, salt away• informal stash away
- He is piling them up because the stacks serve as a kind of yardstick, measuring a new social phenomenon that is gaining ground in Germany.
- I pile them up in great heaps on my working desk and, honestly, I really do know where things are in all that mess.
- A lot of people just take horse poo out of the stables from the bedding and pile it up as manure heaps.
- 1.3 (pile something on) • informal Intensify or exaggerate something for effect: you can pile on the guilt but my heart has turned to stoneMore example sentences
- Miklós Rózsa's score, with its creepy Theramin-style theme, is way too insistent, piling the dramatic effects on so thickly that it becomes distracting.
- Strange effects are piled on, and the song builds to a powerful climax of heavily distorted guitars and bleeping synthesizers.
- Over the years as bandwidth got cheaper, extra features were piled on until it no longer mattered how small a file was, it only mattered that it could be viewed correctly.
- 2 [no object] (pile into/out of) (Of a group of people) get into or out of (a vehicle) in a disorganized manner: ten of us piled into the minibusMore example sentences
- We all piled out of the vehicles and set up a defensive perimeter with our weapons pointing out.
- We finally arrived at a section of waterfront and piled out of the vehicles to look at birds.
- It was ten by the time we piled out of Torry's vehicle and headed into the summerhouse.
- 2.1 (pile into) (Of a vehicle) crash into: 60 cars piled into each other on the M62More example sentences
- The big final was a typically full-blooded affair, with a complete restart being called as the cars piled into each other before the green flag fell.
- The stunts are staged to increase the spectacle, so that when cars pile into each other or toy robots battle, there is an intricate detail and near artistic quality.
- Her twin sister Carly, who was in the front passenger seat, suffered a perforated eardrum and cuts from the smashed windscreen after the car piled into undergrowth.
make a (or one's) pile
- • informal Make a lot of money: he was a car salesman who had made his pile in the Thatcher yearsMore example sentences
fortune, considerable/vast/large sum of money, millions, billions• informal small fortune, mint, lots/pots/heaps/stacks of money, bomb, packet, killing, bundle, wad, tidy sum, pretty penny, telephone numbers
- It's largely the preserve of TV comedians who've made their pile and are now desperately seeking some late - career credibility.
- This is quite different from someone who has made their pile and bought a club as a hobby, much like buying a racehorse.
- Both have made their pile and are looking for something to do.
- Place a number of rifles (usually four) with their butts on the ground and the muzzles together.More example sentences
- The seamen from HMS Excellent were tasked to take over, piling arms and improvising drag ropes from lengths of rope commandeered from the railway station.
- In piling arms, after the firelocks are properly fixed, the pikes are generally placed across the muzzles.
pile it on
- • informal Exaggerate the seriousness of a situation for effect.
late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin pila 'pillar, pier'.
- 1A heavy stake or post driven vertically into the bed of a river, soft ground, etc., to support the foundations of a superstructure.More example sentences
- His solution has been to sink 1,800 wooden foundation piles deep into the ground.
- Bisson said the elevator is supported by 179 piles, each averaging about 100 feet in length.
- Local residents drove wood and stone piles deep into the river bottom to set a solid base.
verb[with object] Back to top
- More example sentences
- The amount of dredging and piling at marinas has grown as boat owners have become more lazy and as more elderly people have bought boats.
- She acknowledged that the neighbourhood had suffered a week of bad disturbance in January because of piling to deal with springs in the ground.
- The water table is only 3.5 metres below the existing ground level and a barrier of sheet piling will be necessary to prevent the excavation affecting the Hay-a-Park lakes which are a haven for wildfowl.
Old English pīl 'dart, arrow', also 'pointed stake', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch pijl and German Pfeil, from Latin pilum '(heavy) javelin'.
- The soft projecting surface of a carpet or a fabric such as velvet or flannel, consisting of many small threads: the thick pile of the new rugs [as modifier, in combination]: deep-pile carpetsMore example sentences
- Velveteen is an all cotton pile fabric with short pile resembling velvet.
- The apartment was covered in wall-to-wall thick tan pile carpeting.
- Cut pile carpet has yarn that is cut at the surface rather than looped back to the carpet.
Middle English (in the sense 'downy feather'): from Latin pilus 'hair'. The current sense dates from the mid 16th century.